Your brand is a valuable component to getting where you want to go and engaging others through effective communication and marketing. But branding is more than just how people perceive you – it’s how you perceive yourself. So, who are you and how are you conveying your brand message to the world at large? Have you taken the time to understand your brand? Do you want to define or improve your own brand? If so, then it’s time to examine how you are communicating to your various audiences.
When I think about “brand,” the first thing I think about is what people wear. What you wear is important as a visual identifier, but it’s also only one part of a larger whole that comprises your brand. Like your personality, your brand has many facets that come together to form an impression on others. So while you start thinking about branding, think about how everything you do reflects your brand. Here are some tips to help you define and accentuate your own brand:
- If you could be more like anyone else in the world (a celebrity, fictional character in a book, etc.) – who would that be? Why would you pick this person? One of the people I admire and have always wanted to be like is Mother Teresa. I wish I were as kind and compassionate as her. She didn’t just talk the talk, her mission to help the poor was done by being in the slums and encouraging others to coexist with people that were thrown out by society. Her unbreakable spirit was beautiful and I aspire to have an ounce of her compassion.
- What is your mission statement? What is it that you do that makes you unique? This is your essence – and your legacy. What makes you excited to get up every morning and go to work? Think about your past successes – what drives you and how can you pass this on to future generations? This should be something that is contemplative and active in nature, something that embraces your inner and outer life. My mission statement is to engage in improving this world. I find that this inspires me to be more imaginative and innovative.
- Craft your vision statement. This should be what you love to do, be, craft, share, and feel. I find the more emotionally charged my vision is, the more I am compelled to action. Is your vision actionable? Measurable? One thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to create your vision statement. It also can change at any time.
- What demographic group do you work with? Is your brand vastly different from those you are trying to communicate with and engage?
- What is unique or different about you? What makes your brand stand out from others?
- What are your values or strategic focus? Ask someone who knows you well and ask them to describe your top values (or virtues). Are they different from how you see yourself? Are they different from how you want to be perceived?
- What is the single most important message you want to convey to others?
While branding yourself sounds simple, it is anything but. It’ll take a lot of thought, soul searching, reconciliation, and eventual determination of your true goals and aspirations. Once established, you will then need to craft a branding strategy and start marketing yourself.
Lekshmy Sankar is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.