What do Coke, Google, Air BnB, Amazon, Maggi, Grab, and many other brands have in common?
They are well known, reputable, perform well, are meaningful to their customers and have millions of supporters and users worldwide. The same applies for celebrities like Taylor Swift, Roger Federer, Bill Gates and many more.
So if you were to ask, “Are people like you and me brands?”, the answer is most certainly going to be YES! People like brands have common characteristics:
- We each have an Identity and a Name, as all brands do.
- We all have an Image; a physical look, i.e. face, style of clothing, colour of hair, way of speaking, etc.
- We each have a set of Personal Values & Personality Traits- that represent what we stand for and enable people to remember their experience with us, as all brands do.
- We all have a group of Followers – friends, family, colleagues and business associates, all brands do.
So what then is your Personal Brand? A Personal Brand is your Personality Traits and Personal Values that define who you are. These determine how you interact with people and the experiences you leave them with. Your Personal Brand is also the Image and Perception you project through your appearance, your posture, the way you carry yourself – your walk, your gait, your gestures and mannerisms. Your personal brand is also based on Your Vocal Image – Your voice, how you communicate, i.e. how you speak and listen to people.
Interestingly, you are in control of all the elements of your Personal Brand. With this realization, there are many useful steps you can take in creating value for yourself and thus creating yourself as a valuable brand to those who interact with you.
Here are some valuable steps to take to develop and add value to that personal brand that is uniquely you.
Personal Values and Personality Traits
First of all, you will need to do some soul searching to identify four to five of your personal values, i.e. what really matters to you. Examples of these could be:
Fairness & Justice
Honesty & Integrity
Freedom & Independence
Friendships & Relationships
Health & Fitness
Next go on to list down what you believe to be your personality traits. Examples of personality traits are:
Humourous/Make people laugh
This is an important step as it helps you to build your brand from the inside out. Your personality traits and personal values are the building blocks of your personal brand. They guide your behaviour in interactions with people and help to project your personal brand.
A Positive Physical Image
Then you should go on to take a look at how to project a positive physical image through the first impressions you make and through your body language and your handshake.
First impressions are made through non-verbal communication like the style of your clothes and their maintenance, the style and neatness of your hair and your attentiveness to people when they are talking to you. When making first impressions of you, people will also notice your eye contact and whether your facial expression is pleasant and welcoming. People will also notice your posture, how you walk and your gestures and mannerisms. These should all be natural and pleasing. They must not come across as overly exaggerated or false.
Our body language is another way people use to form impressions of us. These are made up of your eyes and your handshake. Make and maintain eye contact when you talk to people. This signals confidence. But you should never stare. Lowering your eyes or having no eye contact at all signals shyness, disinterest or lack of confidence.
When it comes to your handshake, here is what it takes to have the perfect handshake:
- Make sure your palms are dry and the skin is reasonably soft.
- Have a firm palm to palm grip.
- Grip the other person’s hand but ensure it’s not too hard and not too soft.
- Hold for 2-3 seconds but never longer than that.
- Keep your elbow nearly straight.
- Stand upright facing the person whose hand you are shaking.
- Make eye contact and smile.
Packaging Your Physical Image
This is about what you wear and it must obey a certain set of rules. For example, little black dresses are not appropriate for work, shorts and slippers are not appropriate for formal events and a full suit can’t be worn in a gym!
Whatever the occasion, make sure you have the right outfit and footwear that:
- Suits your personality.
- Feels comfortable.
- Appropriate for the occasion.
- Pleasing to the eye, and
- Conforms to established norms of decency.
Communicating Your Personal Brand
Communication is the transfer of thoughts, ideas and feelings. It is done through speaking, writing, actions, behaviour, attitude, pictures signs and symbols. For communication to be effective, it must be clear, concise and accurate.
Communicating your personal brand is no different. Your internal personality traits and personal values must be externalised clearly by the way you communicate. You externalise your personal brand through:
- The way you behave with people – so make sure it is always clear, concise and pleasant.
- The image you project – always ensure you are professional, capable, confident and credible.
- The personal values you have- so ensure you do not force them on to people. Let them be reflected by the way you behave and in your lifestyle.
- The language and words you use – ensure you are clear and easily understood and avoid foul language at all costs.
You Vocal Image
This is the impact and image you create when you speak. It is based on how you speak and your voice quality. Your voice quality is a given, which you will have to learn to work with. But how you speak can be transformed for the better.
Here is how you can improve your vocal image when you speak:
- Be aware of your speaking style. Keep it lively, modulate with pauses and increases in volume when you need to make a point.
- Keep your accent free from any language influences. Speak in neutral, unaccented English. Nothing is more annoying than a fake or put on foreign accent.
- Keep the tone and volume of your voice just right for the audience and size of the room. It should never be too loud not too soft.
- Keep a moderate speaking pace. It should not be too fast nor too slow. Vary your speed, slow down and speed up according to your content.
- Be aware of your diction, i.e. the way you pronounce your words. Speak clearly. Pronounce every word. Aspirate your vowels. Do not flatten your vowels. Aspirate them, i.e. pronounce the “a, e, I, o, u,” sounds of words.
Creating yourself as a valuable brand is a consistent projection of what you believe in, your personality traits, your appearance and how you communicate and interact with others. Be aware of the individual parts of your personal brand and the tips contained in this article will help you go a long way in creating value for yourself.