Updated: May 1
Before we get started with learning how to develop your personal brand, we first have to understand the three steps to its initial creation. For the purpose of this article, we'll imagine that these steps lead up to what you'll reference as your "Branding Blueprint". Without first considering and creating your blueprint, there is no plan, road map, or reference to follow, and essentially, no (well thought out) brand.
After all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
The three steps mentioned above are divided into three important concepts revolving around one question: What is your "why", "what," and "how"?
Let's start with your "why". Why do you want to create a personal brand? Whether you know it or not, you’ve already begun to develop your personal brand, even if unintentionally. Everything that you do impacts your image, and as you continue similar habits and behaviors, your image begins to turn into your brand. The good thing is that your brand does not have to be stagnant, and can continuously change in whatever way you see fit. Why not take it by the horns and control where it takes you?
Regardless of what I tell you (which possibly only works for me), your why has to be strong enough to sustain your passion for the foreseeable future. In life, it’s important to remember that in general, no one can tell you your true intrinsic why, ever. Decide why your brand is important to you, and once that’s done, take off!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with faltering. In fact, faltering is very subjective, and just because you might decide to rest or rework how you go about it does not mean that you’re behind or aren’t working hard enough. Please remember that this isn’t supposed to be stressful, and could ideally even be a little fun! You get to think of who you want to be in your private and public life, and can work towards it as little or as fast as you’d like. This could be as simple as a slight change in extracurriculars, Linked In posts, or even how you dress and carry yourself.
Next, we have to think about what your plan of action entails.
Now that you have your why, we can develop your "what" and "how". What do you want your brand to be? That’s completely up to you! One thing that helped me begin to figure mine out was to look at a few of my role models and think of what qualities they possess that inspire me (professionally, socially, and/or morally). You can also tie in your imagination, thinking of who you’ve always wanted to be and how you’ve wanted to come across to those that aren’t familiar with you.
After you identify your "why" and "what", the next step is to identify and plan how you’re going to get there. This is also one of the things that relies on you, and is one of the main reasons that it’s so important to have a strong “why”. The "how" part of developing your brand is where you’ll do a large part of the work of developing your brand. Your "how" ties all of the concepts that we’ve discussed together, and is essentially the last and heaviest part of your brand blueprint. Your how can include a range of carefully planned efforts and strategies, which we’ll review in the next article!
Read the next article in our series, Your Personal Brand Blueprint, to learn the strategies that a few of my mentors and I have used to develop and alter our personal brands, which will tie up the end of our series.