How to Define Your Personal Brand

Personal Branding
define your personal brand

From personal branding pioneer William Arruda

Personal branding is essential to career success.

The concept emerged almost three decades ago (thanks to the brilliance of Tom Peters). In that time, personal branding has evolved from an essential career management tool into a multifaceted mindset for living a fulfilling and authentic life—and for having a career that propels you to achieve your goals and fulfill your purpose.

Personal branding isn’t a checklist; it’s more of an excavation. That’s because your brand is not created. It’s unearthed. The first step of the personal branding process, called KNOW, requires focused self-reflection.

But your personal brand isn’t just about what you think of yourself; it’s also about how the world sees you. That’s because your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those you seek to influence, impress, and impact. To get a fundamental understanding of your brand, validate your self-reflection with feedback from others (check out the 360Reach Personal Brand Survey feedback tool with a special discount from the Personal Branding Blog).

Self-awareness is the first step

Regarding the introspection half of KNOW (which you should accomplish first), there are six drivers of your personal brand on which to focus: values, passions, superpowers, differentiators, purpose, and goals. For each of these drivers, spend time getting clear. Self-awareness is not only the key to successful personal branding, it’s also the #1 leadership skill, according to employee engagement expert Mark Crowley.

These six personal brand drivers help you define and refine your authentic brand. With brand clarity, you can live your unique promise of value and integrate it into everything you do daily. Then, you can stand out from the competition, achieve your career goals and increase your happiness at work!

Know yourself

Let’s get clear on the six drivers of personal branding:

  1. Values – your operating principles or non-negotiables. Your values are core to who you are, and they impact how you feel act, and react.
  2. Passions – the things that bring you joy. Your passions are energizers. When you talk about them with others, you light up.
  3. Differentiators – those things that set you apart from others who have similar aspirations. Think of differentiators as your secret sauce. Differentiators help you make your mark on all that you do.
  4. Superpowers – the things you do better than anyone else. These signature strengths allow you to deliver exceptional value to stakeholders. When you integrate them in all that you do, people use superlatives to describe you.
  5. Goals – what you want to achieve in your career. Goals can be short-term, midterm, or long-term. They help you focus on what’s important and ignore distractions.
  6.  Purpose – your why. It’s not what you do or how you do it, it’s why you do it that’s foundational to your personal brand. Your purpose guides you and helps you feel fulfilled.

If you’re working with an executive or personal branding coach, they can help you uncover your brand by asking you powerful questions and sharing meaningful insights. A mentor or colleague can be helpful, too. But the first step is to learn the ropes, and that’s where this personal brand discovery series comes in.

Stay tuned because we’ll deeply dive into each of the six personal brand drivers in future installments.

And the grand finale?

We’ll flip the script in the eighth article in this series and focus on input – the feedback that will help you validate your own thoughts and embrace your personal brand. So, keep an eye out right here on Personal Branding Blog. The adventure is just beginning!

Dubbed the personal branding guru by Entrepreneur, William Arruda is a motivational speaker, author, and co-founder of CareerBlast.TV. He’s also the creator of the 360Reach Personal Brand Survey which has been used by nearly 2 million people across the globe.