How would you describe your personal brand? Have you ever thought about yourself as a brand? If you’re a blogger, business owner or entrepreneur, chances are high that you have. But what about identifying the key elements of your personal brand? What makes you YOU? What makes you unique? What makes you unforgettable?
If you’ve been following my blogging journey—starting with my vulnerable quest to overcome perfectionism—then you’ve witnessed first-hand some of the key elements of defining [or in my case, re-defining] a personal brand.
The 3 Core Elements of Every Brand
One way to start a personal branding exercise is to look at brands you admire and identify what makes them unique. Let’s take Adobe, for example. I’ve worked there for the past five years so I know the brand really well. And I’m sure you’re familiar with their powerful creative tools, like Photoshop and Lightroom.
I love Adobe as an employee (Hello, six-month-paid maternity leave!), and I’ve had good experiences as a customer, too. I regularly use Photoshop to create collages for my blog and I use Lightroom to edit my photos. I also use Adobe Spark to design quotes and videos for social media.
Each experience I have with Adobe’s products makes me feel like my creativity is infinite. And that’s a good feeling that keeps me coming back. As an employee, the experiences I’ve had working with the people at Adobe have made me even more loyal to this brand. Sometimes I stop and wonder why that is, though.
Do I trust and believe in Adobe because they’re really good at recruiting awesome people?
Yes. But I think it’s more than that. I think Adobe attracts the right people and sells impactful products because, at its core, these three things drive everything they do:
- Mission Statement
The people Adobe employs share its values (genuine, exceptional, innovative, involved), they believe in Adobe’s mission and purpose to change the world through digital experiences, and they respect the company’s story and legacy.
Defining Your Personal Brand
Getting crystal clear on your values, your WHY, and your story are the most important elements when defining your personal brand. Everything you do stems from who you believe you are and the purpose you see for your life.
- Values – To get clear on your values, start with a long list of qualities and characteristics that you respect, then narrow it down to your top 3-5. These are the things you value more than anything else on your list. These values drive you. Without these core values, you wouldn’t be who you are. Need help getting started? You can read more about the role that values play in your life and download my free values exercise.
- Mission Statement – If you’ve never thought about your mission statement before, it’s not something you can just spin up overnight. Your mission is your WHY, your greater purpose for existing. It’s what drives you to serve, create and contribute. In my experience, it takes a lot of soul-searching, but to simplify, your mission is likely connected to your answers to these three questions:
- What makes you cry?
- What makes your heart break?
- What touches you at the depths of your soul?
- Story – Everyone has a story. Your story is your narrative. It’s how you make sense of the events and decisions that took you from where you started to where you are now. I love the way Brené Brown describes the elements of story in her book, Rising Strong. She breaks it down into three phases: the reckoning, the rumble and the revolution. If you’re currently in struggle, rumbling with who you are and who you want to be, I highly recommend Brené’s books and classes. You can read more about how she helped me own my story and how I’m now writing my brave new ending.
Join me in Park City on June 22
When you get clear on your values and identify your why, you can start to align your life to them—then they’ll become your superpower. Your story is powerful in defining your personal brand because your “face-down moments” can lead you to your WHY if you’re willing to go there and own it. These three core elements of your personal brand, when exercised every day, will make you unforgettable.
Successful personal brands are made up of so many more foundational elements, from brand identity and voice to target audience and brand experience. I’ll be touching on all of these and more next week at the Style Summit—a one-day charity event focused on helping you build your social empire, launch or grow your personal brand, and develop yourself as a creative and social entrepreneur.
The event takes place in Park City on June 22. Go here to claim your seat and get $25 off! All proceeds benefit the HayesTough Foundation helping families fighting childhood cancer. I would love to see you there!