Whether we like it or not, every decision we make affects our brand. From the words we use, or the clothes we wear, to the content we publish in social media, all of it speaks to your personal identity. Your Brand.
So what is your brand? You can find out by asking this question:
"What is the word or phrase people think of when they think of you?"
That can be a pretty scary question to answer. But that, in essence, is your brand. Let’s look at a more comprehensive definition from Tim O’Brien.
BREAKING IT DOWN
PART 01 -
“Stimulates a meaningful emotional response in your target audience.”
This means that your actions, on and off the web, are going to affect other people. In many cases, people will decide what your brand is within 15 seconds of meeting you. Obviously 15 seconds is not enough time for them to draw a logical conclusion about what makes you tick without having any tangible evidence, but sadly, this is the case. People are going to have an emotional response to … "You." This meaningful, emotional response could be positive or negative; regardless, it will mean something to them and in turn have an effect on you.
The second part of this statement, "Target Audience," adds a layer of intentionality. Who is your target audience? Interestingly, your brand is going to impact both your "target audience" and your non-target audience. The difference is that your brand cares about, or is more focused on, a defined group of people. While everyone is going to make their own decision about what your brand is, your focus should be on the group of people whose opinions you care most about. How do you want to be perceived?
For example, if I wear a suit every day (HA), no matter the temperature, and you always see me in my suit, it conveys a certain message. That would be a part of my brand. Some might see me and think, "That's guys got swag" others might see me and think, "what a pompous jerk." My attire is a part of my brand, and it can conveys both a positive and negative message. You just need to be certain the message you are conveying is the right message for the right audience.
PART 02 -
“About the values and qualities for which you stand”
Clearly your brand is focused on soliciting an emotional response from a group of people. Now you need to decide what values and qualities you want your brand to state. My colleague has a post about How to Create a Personal Brand. It's a great post. If you have a few minutes, give it a read. However, whether you read it or not, remember this:
You have already built your brand.
That bit of truth is about as scary as answering the question that defines your brand. But there is good news, you can still shape your brand and refine it to be more intentional and focused on the values and qualities for which you stand. Just because you may have a brand that means “x” today doesn’t mean you can’t begin the process of refining that brand to be more intentional tomorrow.
So start to work out your plan and make the necessary changes for “stimulating the meaningful emotional responses” you have purposefully defined.
If you have some time, check out this Personal Brand video by Tim O'Brien. It will make you think more carefully about the emotional impact of your brand.