Everything in life today is branded. It’s a way for you to understand and determine a product’s value, quality, consistency and emotional appeal for you. Notice how you react to these brands: Starbucks, Nike, Apple, Facebook. You have an immediate visceral and emotional response to these names and products. And it happens in an unconscious manner.
And most companies that produce these brands are backed by a Vision or Mission Statement that tells the world what they support and why they stand behind their commitment. This statement tells you of the companies promise and commitment to you, the costumer. And often it goes well beyond the actual product. For example, in addition to Starbucks product mission statement, it also has an environmental mission statement that is very explicit in its values, commitments concerning this subject that affect the world.
You too have a product and/or service to sell that has value, quality and above all must be consistent. And whether you are conscious of it or not, you also have a personal mission statement. Your missions statement let’s everyone know what to expect from your Brand and lets you know what you can expect from yourself as well.
Discovering, writing down and making a commitment to your own Product, Brand and Mission Statement has to be a conscious choice about how you want to be perceived not only by others but by you within yourself. You want your Personal Brand, your name, to be a powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind when others think about you. It’s a promise to yourself and others that must be fulfilled at each and every point of contact within your relationships with consistency and commitment. It’s as much about how you do something as it is about what you do. And as you grow and change you might notice how the sense of what you put in place now will perhaps have a deeper and more relevant meaning in how you do what you do. It’s like creating an internal beacon that helps keep you moving in the right direction as you make choices.
So, what does your name, your brand say about you? Everyone you’ve ever met has an idea of whom and what you are to them. Have you ever thought about the fact that others expect you to behave in a specific way and it’s when you don’t behave that way that they become upset, hurt, angry, confused and disappointed? You probably react in the same manner when your own friends, family and colleagues don’t behave in the way you have come to expect.
As you know from your own experience, when you meet someone new you assign a certain emotional response to that person and their name. You get a reading, a feeling from them that tells you that you are either interested in getting to know them better or not. Think of the name of the person you love the most. What is your response? Your thoughts might run from a feeling of warmth, security to fun and freedom to express yourself and much more. Now think of someone’s name that you don’t especially like or feel comfortable with. What is your response? Quite different from the person you love, right? Think for a moment of your best friend’s name. Now take a minute to notice that comfortable, emotional warmth you feel for them. Recognize the reasons why they are your best friend. Is it about trust, great communication, reliability, and love? We rarely take the time to sort through the “why” we are friends. But that is their Brand and it rarely wavers.
What kind of an impact does your name generate when someone comes in contact with you? Does it evoke the kind of response you want to be known for not only with family and friends, but in the business and singing community as well? Would you like to minimize the work involved in being you? How would it be if you could be congruent on the inside so you could be consistent in your words and behaviors on the outside no matter with whom you are dealing? That is what a conscious Personal Brand will do for you.
How can you become more conscious about creating and representing your personal brand? Start your conscious Personal Branding process by answering these questions.
“A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.” – Lexicon
What do you believe about yourself? Write down a description of who you truly believe you are at your core level. This is not about how you wish to be seen or how you feel others view you, but about how you truly see yourself. And do write down your answers because once on paper and not just in your head, they gain power.
- What makes you feel passionate?
- What are you most proud of?
- What do you do well? What skills come naturally to you?
- What are your strengths?
- What about yourself do you take pride in?
- What are your unique characteristics?
- Which experiences in your life stand out and why? What did you learn from them?
- Name 7 of your most obvious personality traits
- What moral principle or value do you most associate with yourself?
- What is the biggest, most consistent value you contribute to your relationships? (both individuals and groups)
- Describe your life style.
- How are you introduced at any function?
- What is your lifetime vision?
- Does your environment reflect your brand? (living & work space)
- Does the way you dress represent your brand?
- Do you communicate well? Does the sound of your voice when you speak and the language and grammar you use support your brand?
After reflecting on your answers to these questions and any others that might have been brought to mind, write a short statement that represents and reflects your brand in all situations and relationships including the one with yourself. And it’s important that you say not only for yourself but others, because I have found that if you can’t do something for you how can you expect to be able to do it honestly for others. Boil it down so John Doe or a typical 5 year old gets it. Make it short and to the point. How does it make you feel? Live with it for a week or two and see if it needs any adjusting. Then when it looks, feels and sounds right, start living it.
Here is an example: I, Jane Smith/John Smith, am committed to initiating a creative environment for myself and others that is filled with adventure, humor, and generosity.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde
A Personal Brand, your name, backed by a Personal Mission Statement is a powerful coalition. It arms you with self-esteem, courage, integrity, and compassion. It demonstrates to you and others what you stand for and what can be expected from you. It crosses into and throughout all the roles you play in life, sister, friend, colleague, student, etc. and allows you to be your authentic and empowered self. Those in the performing industry will also easily recognize your commitment to the standard you have set. Avanti! And if you get stuck, shoot me an email. It’s the challenges in life that create expanded thinking and growth, so get it done and you will be a very happy camper.