Creating Your Own Brand Image
I believe in both miracles and destiny, but in the end, we make our own reality. Creating a memorable brand image doesn’t happen just by deciding it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of work to do…it’s a process that will take time. So why should you bother? Here’s why: To know who you are and be valued for it, to attract what you want, to become more attractive to others, to inspire confidence, to walk your path with integrity, and to distinguish yourself in whatever field you have chosen. Here are the 8 steps that every woman needs to create her own personal brand image.
STEP 1: Define Your Core Values
The very first step is to model your brand on your authentic self. There’s only one like it in the world, which makes it (1) distinct from any other, and (2) something you and only you can pull off. What words speak of your core values- that metronome for personal behavior (what you stand for, what you want to live up to, what you consider most important to your inner life and well-being)? When you discover what resonates with your soul, trust it. Your challenge is to capture the essence of what you have to offer, create interest and enthusiasm for it, and enhance your image in the business world.
STEP 2: Forge Your True Purpose
When you have a purpose-driven career, you can move forward confidently. My mission statement is to “Inspire executives to fearlessly embrace change.” That gives me a reason to get out of bed each morning. It’s why I’m writing this blog. Your mission should connect with your heart and enact your core values. It should be out of reach, but in your grasp. When you write your mission, you suddenly have a North Star for your career—a definition for your true purpose – why you do what you do. You can use it as a filter for evaluating opportunities. If the offer or project is not on mission: you can say “no.” I think that the most inspiring mission statements are written in 7 words or less so that they are easy to remember. Once you have your mission defined, you can begin to harness all your energy to it – shedding everything that doesn’t fit.
STEP 3: Go After Your Target Audience
No matter what your brand’s mission or your financial goals or your personal dreams, identifying and earning the devotion of your target audience are the interlocking and necessary means to reaching those objectives. Your bosses, colleagues, employees, anyone in your sphere of influence is who you need to consider before you tell your story or present an idea. To appeal to your audience, do a 180-degree turn and stand in their shoes. Listen closely when they talk about their challenges and desires—so you can answer the question on their mind which is, “If I pay attention to you, what’s in it for me?”
STEP 4: Figure Out What’s Stopping You
At home, being comfortable with family and friends is one of life’s great joys. On the other hand, being comfortable in business is like a blinking yellow light we just drive through. We stay in our comfort zone because we can’t imagine a new way to do things, and we are afraid to fail if we try something new. The fear of rejection and the need to be perfect can stop us in our tracks and keep us from evolving. By staying in this stuck place and resisting the natural need to evolve, we risk suffering career extinction. It’s critical to identify and overcome your inner fears while developing your brand image. Fear of the unknown, poverty, competition, failing, and not being liked act like barriers—standing in the way of our success. Doing things, the same old way is damaging to your career and your health. It’s time to shake it up. Courageously make changes, even if it seems that so much is standing in your way—push through— if you NEED what’s on the other side.
STEP 5: Recruit a Squad of Brand Cheerleaders
To help you overcome your fears, add people to your life that have faith in you. Now is the time to connect with others who believe in your dream and can cheerlead you on. Attend luncheons, workshops, seminars and other types of networking events. Look for guides, coaches, mentors and promoters at these events, and among your friends, your family and your colleagues. You want to surround yourself with people who believe in your mission, sing your praises, open doors, and provide sage advice on how to build your business, and then reward them for their generosity. Networking should be a two-way street. The most successful and courageous women I know in business understand their limitations and draw in a posse of coaches, consultants, talented creative partners, and loyal employees to support their mission, gain fresh insights and get big projects done right. Those who go it alone and play the overworked martyr or the tough cookie, rarely move up.
STEP 6: Dress the Part You Want to Play
In any business situation, appearances count, big-time. Your challenge is two-fold.
- To make your exterior appealing to your target audience.
- And to make sure your exterior is as much a genuine reflection of your interior as possible.
What does your audience want to see? What kind of package does it respond to, feel safe with, understand, respect, admire? And what kind of look can you put together to motivate, or even excite, your audience?
STEP 7: Move Forward Confidently
A lot of people think charisma is something you are born with-and they’re right. But what not everyone knows is that we’re all born with it. Whether or not we all use it is another question. To be seen as a powerful brand, you have to move like Jagger and enter the room like a rock star. It happens when you quiet your inner judge and show up confidently—comfortable in your own skin. Do you sparkle? Do you demonstrate your creativity or your competence in action and word? Are you curious, earnest, self-deprecating, sure of yourself, steady, clever, or adventurous-and how do you show it? It starts with not comparing yourself with others or asking people what they think (when what you are really doing is seeking approval). It’s time to use your intuition and find your own answers.
STEP 8: Devise a Plan and Get on with It
I started my company Big Fish 26 years ago. Through every iteration, I’ve had to think about my own brand image in this very intense, obsessive way: writing it down, talking it up, and putting it out in the universe to fulfill its destiny. Although I serve the biggest media brands in the world, the brand I spend the most time with is my own. To fulfill my potential and have a career with purpose takes planning and focus. I’ve found that when you put the time into it, everything gets easier. It’s about being open, willing and saying “YES” to building a personal brand image, and the opportunities it attracts. Stop putting your destiny on hold. Now is the time to live big and go deep with a personal brand identify that propels your career forward.
This guest post was authored by Robin Fisher Roffer.
Fearless Career Builder and CEO of Big Fish Marketing, Robin Fisher Roffer is a sought-after brand strategist, storyteller and author. She is also the Fearless Coach at TONE Networks. She helps countless women fearlessly design their dream careers. During the live event, Ms. Roffer will address the embracing change, letting go and being fearless in your career. As a media brand specialist who works multiple Fortune 500 companies she knows firsthand the importance of creating a personal mission, determining core values and pursuing goals fearlessly. Learn more about Robin here.
“A personal brand is a personal promise”