That’s right. I am telling you that - in the midst of all of this uncertainty and illness and economic downturn - it is the exact right time to take a critical look at your brand.
Why, you ask? (Or probably, your answer is something more like, are you INSANE??) But hear me out, okay?
Now, before I get started, I want to very clearly say that I realize that there are some of us that are on the front lines of the illness, others with family members that have COVID-19 or have it themselves, people that are out of work and just barely getting by. I am by no means trying to minimize any of those situations and my heart and support goes out to all of them.
However, for many of us, this means working at home, more free time with less of what we used to do, and a slower pace to life that makes it the perfect time to reflect, and this is what is most needed when reevaluating or building a brand. Here is why:
Take time to reflect. What is your personal brand? Who are you on your best day? Who are you on your worst day? What do you want to be? What legacy do you want to leave on the world? What would be the biggest compliment you could ever receive? What would be said at your eulogy? (A bit morbid, but fair, I think.) Who are you, really? At your core? When no one is looking? How are you better/different/unique than anyone else in the world? Heavy stuff, right?
Ask others what they think of you. In this new version of the world, we are being told that we should “social distance” from others. A colleague of mine reflected that perhaps we should instead call it, “physical distancing”. Because, especially for the likes of extroverts like me, not being social just isn’t in the cards for most of us. As humans and by definition, we are “social beings”. In the case of what we are suggesting here, your introspection and perspective on who you are is one-sided. It does not balance the way that others in the world see you. This is an instance of perceptions being reality. Ask those closest to you. What is my very best trait? How would you describe me as a friend/partner/parent/coworker? Be honest with me. (And you be ready for the responses.) When have you seen me at my best? My worst? What is my destined place in this world? What do you see in me that no one else does?
Take a look at the marketplace around you. Who are your personal brand competitors? Yes, this may seem awkward, but who do you think you stack up against from a professional/personal/parenting style/spouse style/outward brand style/fashion/workout/diet perspective today? And who do you aspire to be more like in the future? (Also, who do you definitely not want to be like? Contrast is helpful too.) What qualities do you share? What qualities do you want to share? What do you know better than them? What do they know better than you?
Make a plan. Identify the ways in which you will improve. Big steps and little steps. This is not a plan toward “perfection”, but rather, a plan to be more mindful, pragmatic, and disciplined about your personal brand. What will you do each day? Each week? Each month? How will you track your progress? How will you continue to evaluate said progress? For me, it is a literal spreadsheet where I track each new business book I have read, new habits I am building, the ways in which I am improving myself, what I am learning, all of it. Each week I try to do something new. Each month I reflect on my success. And then I recalibrate. Maybe that is too formal for you. Find what works. Stick to it. And commit to make it better.
Enact your plan and stick with it. Commit. Seriously. Set up a schedule. That extra hour of the day? Make it your “personal branding time”. Dig in. Be reflective. Hold yourself accountable. Share your progress with others. Learn. Grow. Repeat. If something isn’t working, change it! If you have found things that do work well, share them! Go back to those people you asked for help and share your thoughts and progress. Go back to those “competitors” and see how you are holding up and differentiating and becoming better/more mature/evolved in your progress. Keep at it.
So why do we think this is important? It puts control back in your hands in an uncertain time, gives you something positive to focus on, opens up a world of possibilities that you may not have without this additional time and space, and puts you on a path to impact the world in a way you haven’t been before. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Finding yourself having a hard time getting started on your personal brand? Give us a call. We have been there. With some guidance, we are certain we can get you on the right path to a personal brand you are proud of!
Anne Candido and April Martini are the Co-Founders of Forthright People, an On-Demand Marketing Agency focused on helping start-ups, small and mid-size businesses quickly capture the hearts of their customers without breaking the bank. They believe in “real-time brand-building”, which delivers strategically-informed execution, creating immediate business impact while also developing equity for systemic growth. And since their team consists of an extended network of talented freelancers and boutique agencies, they do not require hefty retainers and contracts to do it. Contact them via email: Anne@Forthright-People.com and April@Forthright-People.com.