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By consciously establishing yourself as a brand, you influence the perception of people around you and evoke positive images and associations. It is clear to others who you are, what you do, what makes you unique and what they can expect if they engage with you. As a result, you attract the people you want to attract, make them remember you and increase the probability that they want to do business with you. This article will get you started on your own brand in four steps.

Your brand value

To market yourself as a brand, you must first discover your own brand values and then translate them into concrete actions.

Your brand value consists of [1]:

  • Functional skills: The tangible attributes that demonstrate what you can do. These are the total of education, knowledge and experience.
  • Emotional attributes: The intangible attributes that make you the way you are. It’s about your drives, personality, passions and talents.
  • Expressive traits: The way you present yourself to the outside world. It’s about your appearance, the way you come across, and style.

All parts should fit together to create an hollistic brand value. Your personal brand is then reflected in how you communicate (consciously and unconsciously) and do your work in a unique personal way.

Discovering your brand values

To achieve a strong brand personality, your brand value needs to be authentic. As a result, your brand is realistic, does not feel made up and is consistent with your behavior, style, and communication time and time again. This first requires a thorough self-examination.

The steps below will help you on your way to discovering your authentic brand values:

Step 1: Discover

The first step is all about discovering yourself. Reflect on your personality, skills and actions. For this you can think of things yourself, but also use what friends, family, colleagues and online assesments say. List as many traits, characteristics, quirks, uniquenesses, peculiarities, talents, dreams and desires of yourself as you can. Write down everything that comes to mind, you can make a selection later.

Consider questions such as:

  • What character traits shape the choices I make and my attitude?
  • What topics do I find so interesting that I pursue them in my spare time?
  • Which activities give me energy and a sense of accomplishment?
  • For which things do people ask me for help?
  • Which characteristics ensure that I achieve my goals time and again?
  • Which characteristics do I try to improve?
  • What characteristics or combination of characteristics makes me unique and special?
  • What do I want to show to the outside world and what things would I keep to myself?
  • What is the actual starting point of my career based on education and experience?
  • What would I like to do or achieve in the future?
  • What feedback am I more likely to hear from others?

Step 2: select

Based on the insights you got from the first step, determine which values are really important and applicable to you. Which traits come up again and again?

Then filter which things are in your collection that don’t belong, but have crept in because they are convenient and socially desirable.

See which of the remaining traits, apart from all the changes you have gone through, collectively make you unique. Think about a possible specialism: on what topics do you want people to think of you immediately?

Step 3: present

When creating your personal brand, it is also important to determine how you want others to see you. How do you want to come across and be remembered? By determining how you want to be seen, you can start working to ensure that people actually see you that way.

In doing so, also clearly define the target audience you want to appeal to and tailor your communications accordingly. Think about what this target group finds interesting and relevant to know about you and choose expressions that match the target group. What style do you want to use? What means of communication will you use?

Consider questions such as:

  • How do I communicate who I am and what I do?
  • What is distinctive about my style of communication and presentation?
  • How do I connect with my target audience?
  • How do I make it easy for others to connect with me and build a relationship?

Step 4: Describe your personal brand

In the previous steps, you have already collected and filtered a lot of information about yourself that makes you unique and interesting to a particular target audience. Now it’s time to turn this information into your personal brand.

Describe the elements of your brand value in a short and inspiring text. Congratulations, you have just discovered your personal brand!

Redirecting to concrete actions

Discovering your brand is not all there is to it. A personal brand is worth nothing if you don’t live by it. The key is to express your brand, anytime, anywhere.

“It’s not about what you do, but what people think you do.”

After all, it is the perception of those around you that determines what personal brand you really are.
[1] Van Zwieten, H. & Van de Grift, M. (2014). Het merk ik. Antwerpen: Spectrum

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