The first step to building your personal brand is taking a long, detailed look in the mirror. And that’s not always the easiest thing to do. You need to figure out what makes you special or different and embrace it. Discovering and owning what sets you apart lays the foundation for an impactful personal brand.
I’m reminded of the movie You, Me, and Dupree with Kate Hudson, Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon. There’s a scene when Owen Wilson’s character, Dupree, gives a pep talk to Matt Dillon’s character, Carl. Dupree tells Carl, “You’re bringing something to the table too. You’ve got that Carl-ness; that little twinkle in your eye that says they’re never going to beat you. They can’t lay a glove on you. Don’t forget that because you can’t put a price tag on it.”
You have to find your “you-ness,” the core of your identity that sets you apart from everyone else. To begin to really narrow this down, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you get up in the morning?
- What inspires you?
- What are you fighting for?
But don’t stop there. If you have trouble answering any of those questions, talk to your spouse, best friend or a close family member. Even if you can’t exactly pinpoint your “you-ness,” they can likely help you uncover it, like Dupree could with Carl.
If you’re still a little stuck or having a hard time putting your “you-ness” into words, think about those you admire. Don’t limit it to people in your field. Look at your favorite actors, athletes and business leaders and figure why you like them and what makes you cheer for their success. Then reflect on the questions you just answered. Identify your areas of expertise and your passions to find your own unique value proposition.
Figuring it all out is the hard part; actually building the brand becomes easier at that point. Find the best way to articulate that “you-ness” to employers, peers, clients and/or prospects. Will you have a blog? How will you showcase this on LinkedIn or a resume? Start thinking about what kind of online presence fits your brand and the image you want to portray. Then craft a biography and vision statement to put your “you-ness” into terms that will spark the interest of others.
When it comes down to it, your personal brand is your “you-ness” packaged and promoted to the public. It’s all about figuring out what makes you unique and embracing it to positively stand out from the crowd and unlock new opportunities.
Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, LLC, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.