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What is a personal brand, why did I decide I needed to have one and how did I go about creating one? I realised that having a company that mainly provides one service isn't nearly enough to tell people about who I am & all the things I do, so a personal branding journey began.
Having a personal brand let's you shout out, "Here I am, this is me & this is what I do!"
NinaDar.com is a personal brand. I wanted to develop my personal brand because I am so open to opportunities and get involved in lots of different things, that even I didn’t know what to say when people asked me what I did and my convoluted answer did nothing to clarify the situation. People usually walked away shell shocked and confused.
When I set up Cheeky Monkey in 2004 I was very clear about what I wanted it to be. It was a statement, a chance to try and change the narrative, look and feel of Change Management Consultancy. A Human Approach to Innovation & Change. The signature image, an animated monkey with a cheeky smile of course, was tough, it had to feel right, in the end I gave it to my niece to draw, she was 9’ish and her innocent understanding came through immediately. The voice and standard was uncompromising and fun. As we grew, so did the individualised monkey images, and it’s a brand that continues to allow for growth.
Many people have asked me why I have created a personal brand, it is something that many of you seem to be thinking about, so I thought I would write down the thought process I went through and after extensive research, the framework I used. Hopefully it will help you with yours.
I wanted a personal brand that told the world who I was, what I believed in, the things that I am good at – an advert for me – that may help me attract the people I wanted to work with. Something I could grow with, that allowed me to take an active role in the direction my life was going. That makes it sound very deep, when in fact it was just the opposite, I was being lazy, tired of trying to explain what I was doing now in a way that people understood it, if I could get it down in one place – job done!
There is constant pressure to reinvent yourself, keep up with the latest trend and say the right thing and to be quite frank, that’s not really me. My life is constantly changing naturally and I wanted a way to explain that without having to dress it up, just make the most of what I have to offer and be myself.
The Ingredients of a Personal Brand
I did a lot of research on personal branding, and from numerous sources I created this framework and it helped me a lot:
- Be clear about who I am
Change Management Expert and Business Coach
- What do I want to be known for?
The Human Approach to Innovation & Change
- What are my values?
People-Centred, No Nonsense Approach, Disruptive, Innovative
- Say what I do best
Ensuring that The Human Approach is forefront in our minds as we collaborate with technology
- How do I want to use my talents?
Helping businesses and individuals change, either in the role of consultant or coach
- Build credibility
Lots of proof examples grouped in achievement categories and testimonials
- Showcase speciality
Talk about my areas of expertise; Change Management, Coaching, PLM, Fan Culture, Project Management, Supply Chain Management and Speaking
I also wanted a signature image that reflected me, just as hard as getting the Monkey right, both were very personal, this one had the edge because it was just me, which most of the time just didn’t seem good enough. I wanted it to be the other me, the one that was better than the real me. I soon realised creating a personal brand is a test of how comfortable (with yourself) and confident you actually are.
There are two other parts to the framework that I still find hard:
- Not everyone is going to like you and that’s fine
On a good day, I’m there, and then something will happen and all my insecurities rise up and I just want to be liked by everyone, change something on the site and hope that does it. I’m only human after all.Fighting the temptation to be all things to everyone is tough but essential.
- Who do you want to work with?
I want to work with people who believe that The Human Approach is central to the transition we are now in. If you saw anything from The World Economic Forum in Davos, you will have seen it was a central theme and I want to work with everyone that was there, and the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and entrepreneurs who are just starting out and the businesses not doing the right things but want to change, my list is endless…
…and my mental block on this one is that it doesn’t matter who I want to work with, if they don’t know who I am, what I can do or what I stand for, I don’t stand a chance.
I want to have a chance to work on the things that I believe in, with people that share that belief, and that’s going to take a bit of work.
People still do business with people, if you are working on something that you know needs The Human Approach then this is your chance to get to know me and realise just what an asset I would be.
That’s why I created a personal brand; I’m proactively trying to be part of what I want to change.
What do you want from yours?