What is a personal brand?

Guest blogger Jennifer Holloway, author of ‘Personal Branding For Brits’ shares her thoughts on what makes up a successful personal brand. With a depth of knowledge from her corporate days running press offices to being the boss of her own business she’s built relationships, gained clients and stayed on people’s radars by promoting who she is – not just what she does. To help you do the same, here are her six personal branding basics for you to use in defining your own brand:

Your Values – the principles by which you live your life, the rules you use to define right and wrong.  Think of these as the foundations on which your personal brand is built.  For one of my clients, his values centred around an overarching desire to be genuine and honest by saying what needed to be said, whilst still showing empathy to others and taking their feelings into account.

Your Drivers – what you hold to be important to you, the things that motivate you to do what you do, that drive you to succeed.  It could be money (or more specifically, what money brings you), it could be recognition in various forms, it could be a wish to make a difference to others and leave a legacy.  For instance, I had a client who felt you should always take responsibility and act as if someone is looking, even when they’re not.

Your Reputation – in a nutshell, what you’re known for and what people think of the instant your name is mentioned.  Looking at this in more traditional marketing terms, you might call this your strapline.  To put it bluntly, it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Your aim is for that to be something positive, like ‘She’s going places!’ or ‘He takes out-of-the-box thinking to new levels’.

Your Behaviour – what you say and do that is an outward communication of those deeper values and drivers.  You could think about it as the three words you’d use to describe yourself.  Just some of the words used by my clients have been ‘trailblazing’, ‘larger-than-life’, ‘dynamic’, ‘inspiring’, ‘rebel’, ‘connector’…the list goes on.

Your Skills – your strengths, your natural talents, the things you excel at doing and, putting modesty aside, that you know you stand head and shoulders above your peers for.  One way to think about this is to look at the things that others come to you for.  For me it’s my ability to spot someone’s unique selling point and then find a way to put that into words that fit the person perfectly.

And last, but certainly not least…

Your Image – not just how you look but how you sound as well.  This tells people an awful lot about you and is an outward representation that ties back to all the previous things.  For instance, one director I worked with used his quirky cufflinks to add a bit of individuality, while another added a large sports watch to his pinstripes to give a hint to the fact he was a keen cyclist.

To put all of that into context, I’ve created the Personal Brand Pyramid that shows how those layers come together (for those who ever sat through a class on sociology like I did, it might just remind you of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – remember that?)



For more personal branding tips, take a look at Jennifer’s website http://www.sparkexec.co.uk/ or check out her book ‘Personal Branding For Brits’ on Amazon.

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