When you started in business no doubt you thought about your skill set and the type of business you would like to run. Perhaps you’re clear on your mission and vision and know the clients you ideally would like to work with. But have you thought about the personality of your brand?
For many entrepreneur-led businesses – you are the brand and your personal brand image and personality I believe is the one characteristic that can set you apart. Consider delving a little more deeply into your personality to uncover just what it might be that you can really “hang your hat on”.
In the course of your career no doubt you’ve been subjected to a personality test or two. Psychometric testing has been used for a very long time and it can be useful to understand more about your personal brand
Many personal branding programs used today are based on the Johari Window, developed in the 1950s by two psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. Jo and Hari. It’s quite simple and makes the process of understanding yourself clearer.
They came up with the four elements of self we need to look at.
- The public self is the part of you that everyone sees, what we show to the outside world. It’s the part everybody knows and understands about you. It includes your visual Image, first impressions, how we dress, groom and how we interact with people; your social skills, customer service and people skills.
- The private self – your hidden image. It’s the part only you know about. It may include your attitude, self confidence level, experiences, anxieties and fears. These are the areas you don’t want others to know about. The private self is also about your goals, dreams and hopes.
- The blind spots. Let’s face it – we all have them. These are the parts of ourselves others see that we cannot see ourselves. This is your reputation, what you are known for and what other people say about you behind your back. This may include your attitude, ego, annoying habits or sloppy appearance.
- The unknown self. This is the untapped potential which is unknown to you and others. It is the part of us that is not clear. Perhaps we don’t yet realise what we can achieve or others haven’t recognised our potential. Perhaps they see something in us that we don’t. As an example we might feel confident but it’s not coming through – or the behaviour we’re unaware of is giving out the wrong signals.
The idea is to look at your private self and some of those hidden areas. What is it you need to improve on? What do you want to achieve and what do you want to project to others?
Brand Personality Words
To do this, identify your brand personality words. Think of adjectives you would you use if you were a journalist and writing a story about you? How would you describe that person?
As an exercise, open up a magazine or newspaper and select a few famous personalities who are featured. What words come to mind instantly about those people? What is your observation or perception of a sports star or businessperson? We form an impression of other people relatively quickly and believe we have an understanding of their character, generally because of the way in which they are portrayed in the media. So who are you and how would you describe yourself?
Another Clue to your Personality is your Passions
What topics excite you so much that you could talk about them endlessly or would make you tune into a TV program focused on these topics? What pastimes, activities and hobbies are you engaged in?
Take a few moments to think about the activities you love that inspire you and motivate you. And, most importantly, why do you like them? Is there a particular feeling or essence that emanates from you when you are totally rapt? Identify those words that describe the emotion you experience when you are engaged in your passions.
Personal Brand Perceptions
Then look at your public self – how others see you. Can you get some honest feedback of how people perceive you to uncover some of the blind spots?
To determine the perceptions others have of your personal brand, survey a mix of work colleagues, family and friends. You could also add employers; clients or customers you may have. Send them an email or call explaining that you are on a quest to improve your work and/or business position by understanding your current situation. Tell them you are contacting them to seek comments in order to understand your reputation and how you come across to others.
When you do make contact, here are some questions you could ask:
- How do you perceive my personal brand – both positive and negative?
- What would you say are my greatest strengths?
- What do you believe are my weaknesses?
- What do you believe I do well in my work and also not so well?
By now you will have compiled a list of words describing the perceptions others have of you. Now check this list of words against your own list of adjectives and words about yourself and your personality, and also the words about your passions to see what common themes, phrases or words emerge. Cross reference to find out which words from other people match up with your list and then circle those. You’re starting to get more insight now into your true personality and how others see you.
We need to tap into some of these areas and once we’re satisfied that the image we’re projecting is working well for us then we can start to uncover the unknown self and unlock some of your unknown potential and unique personality characteristics.
It is a matter of being aware of our true selves and allowing the positive YOU to come through – peeling the onion layer by layer until we reveal that true essence.
Business is personal. We bring our personal nature into everything we do … our work and our play. It’s so much a part of us and is the very foundation of our business brand.
If you would like to read more on this topic, it is featured in my book IMPRESSario – Present and Promote the Star Within You.
You can also find out more in my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Ways to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs present an influential brand image.