Christine Chopyak’s Picture Your Business Strategy: Transform Decisions with the Power of Visuals shows how you can picture your journey to personal branding success from the present to the future.

Visual thinking is one of the most important success strategies in business and personal branding today. Previous articles, like Resume Tips for Projecting a Creative Personal Brand and Visual Marketing for Personal Branding Success, provide examples showing the range of visual thinking.

Do-it-yourself approach

Christine Chopyak’s Picture Your Business Strategy provides a guide to another aspect of visual thinking, showing how “non-artists” can use hand-drawn sketches as planning tools for your personal branding strategy.

Power of simplicity

She begins with a story of one of her experiences in China, that emphasizes the power of simple visuals to overcome language barriers. She described how an impromptu simple sketch at a crowded market successfully communicated when words failed.

Then, she tells stories about how she has used simple sketches in a variety of business settings to encourage collaboration and build consensus.

One of the best examples, which you can view in detail on her book’s Picture Your Strategy website shows the book’s table of contents (shown at right).

Even though it’s a relatively simple drawing, it communicates the structure of her book in a highly personalized way that effectively brands her book as a practical tool.

The simplicity of simple drawings encourages your creativity while planning projects, like your personal brand strategy. It’s far easier to sketch your personal branding journey, or share them in personal or group meetings, when you don’t have to be too detailed.

With simple sketches, it’s easier to focus on the ideas!

Simplicity is also an equalizer. As Christine Chopyak wrote later in her book:

The more sophisticated and perfect a drawing is, the more alienating it is. With simple, clear drawings, the audience gets the feeling that they could do this too!, quoting the authors of The Decision Book.

Examples for planning your personal branding strategy

In addition to ideas and tips, Picture Your Business Strategy contains examples of dozens of planning examples you can easily recreate and adapt planning your journey to a strong personal brand. These sketched examples include:

  • Gap analysis. A gap analysis map helps you identify “missing link” between where your brand is today, and where you want it to be tomorrow. Acknowledging the gap is the first step to determining the actions you can take to bridge the gap.
  • SWOT analysis. Another excellent starting point for evaluating your current personal brand is to view it from the perspectives of a grid with separate areas for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
  • Road map with benchmarks. Like the book’s table of contents, above, a road map sketch can identify the necessary milestones or benchmarks needed to achieve your desired personal brand. You can also quickly create alternate versions, displaying different routes to your goal brand.
  • Environmental scan. Another simply-executed, but highly-revealing sketch can display your personal brand in the context of the various forces acting on it, such as technology, the economy, and competing brands.
  • Force Field Analysis. On page 109, there’s an example of the Drivers (you’re your vision) and the Restraints (like time or budget limitations) that are acting on your personal brand. The example allows you to identify the most important ones for you to focus on, rather than dissipating your resources in too many areas.

Other sketched examples include sketching your Organizational History, tracing the challenges, key activities, milestones, and success in your brand’s past. This helps you identify which events should be included in your brand’s story.

No software learning curve!

One of the most important benefits of the sketching advice and examples that Christine Chopyak shares in her Picture Your Business Stress is the freedom from software learning curves.

Although many software programs are available that you can use for planning and project management, there’s often a learning curve involved when using them for the first time.

The type of hand-drawn sketches described in Picture Your Business Stress, however, can be done using a variety of pencils, pens, and colored marketers on paper, poster-boards, whiteboards, or blackboards.

Putting sketches to work

Take a fresh look at the role that simple sketches can play in evaluating, planning, or reinvigorating, your personal branding strategy. The simplicity of hand-drawn sketches, compared to typing, can be like a breath of fresh air, freeing your mind to be more focused, but also more creative in seeing connections and opportunities that have been previously overlooked.

If you’re already using sketch-based visual thinking to plan your personal brand, or you firm’s brand, share your experiences, concerns, or questions. What’s working well? Have you experienced any problems? If you’re not yet using sketch-based visual thinking, why not? What’s holding you back? Share your impressions and questions as comments, below.