Believe it or not, you do have a personal brand. The question is whether that personal brand is perceived as strong and valuable in the eyes of your target audience.
Strong personal brands are built on the key principles that I address as the 7Cs of the personal branding mix. They are: character, credibility, channels, content, contacts, consistency and confirmation. Developing your personal brand strategy based on these principles will undoubtedly put you on a firm foundation for your further actions.
However, these key principles may not be everything. There is also a soft side of your personal brand that matters. That soft side I have in mind has to with some of the most important traits that a strong personal brand should cultivate.
Over the last few years, observing and consulting executives, entrepreneurs and other professionals of various fields, I have observed soft personal traits that I believe contribute greatly to building a strong personal brand. Here are my top 5:
Curiosity is the engine of achievement (Ken Robinson).
Curious individuals are always eager to learn, absorb knowledge and improve their skills as well as to explore new possibilities. It’s a lot easier for these people to build a strong personal brand as they will be constantly open to new ideas and innovations.
Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives (Oprah Winfrey).
I once read that empathy is the oil that makes relationships run smoothly. It reminded me of certain people that I couldn’t develop a relationship with as they simply did not understand my feelings and couldn’t put themselves in my shoes. The ability to empathize adds enormous value to interpersonal relationships, whether socially or in the marketplace. Thus, if people keep saying you don’t understand them, then it may be a call to pay more attention to both their verbal and non verbal cues.
Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones (John Lennon).
Honesty is said to be one of the most valuable traits a leader could have and becomes a way to make others trust you. Honest individuals tend to inspire others more than those who only pretend to be authentic. Dishonest conduct can be spotted a mile away and causes people to be wary of you.
Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will (Zig Ziglar).
Let’s not be mistaken here. Confidence is not an antonym for humility, but arrogance, egoism and pretentiousness are. Humility is not about low self-esteem; it’s about being modest and without the excess of pride. Humble personal brands are strong personal brands as they do not assume they know everything nor they can control everyone. Instead, by being humble, they often become a look-up-to example and are able to inspire others.
Everything you can imagine is real (Pablo Picasso).
The ability to look at old things in a new light, discover new solutions to problems and navigate complex situations may also be helpful in establishing a one-of-a-kind personal brand. Do not feel creative enough? I’ve got some good news. Creativity can be cultivated by starting a journal, searching for inspiration from other people and industries or simply dedicating time to brainstorming.
If you believe you possess all the above traits, but at the same time don’t think your personal brand is strong – it might be a good time to act. There might be dozens of other personal traits that would contribute to a strong personal brand depending on your goals, target audience and positioning. Nevertheless, it might be useful to start by working on these five!