How to start branding yourself with a personal brand statement
Your personal brand is an expression of your lifestyle, beliefs, values, and life vision. Here's a simple exercise to start crafting it.
Branding yourself is not just about marketing yourself for career purposes. It's about being clear on who you are, what you want, and what you believe in, then conveying that to the world.
The personal brand statement is the first step in crafting a vision for your life and clearly expressing that vision to everyone around you. This statement (or life mantra) captures the essence of your purpose.
Self-knowledge is at the core of a strong personal brand statement so let's start this activity with reflection. If you need to engage in deeper and lengthier thought about what you stand for then start with a soul-searching exercise. Otherwise, answering the questions below would be sufficient.
Who are you and who do you want to be?
What do you (and do not) care about?
What will you prioritize in your life?
Awareness, clarity, and focus are essential tools for minimalists because they help answer the most important question in life: what matters most? When you understand what matters most to you, you'll be better equipped to make decisions, and in this case, move through the personal branding process with greater ease.
Your reflection activity should culminate with a clear but high-level understanding of self. However, you need to get more granular before you start on your statement.
Consider the major themes in life listed below and create 1-2 specific goals for each that you want to reach within 5 years:
Note that "culture" in this case is a blanket term for any special interests or ideals such as religion, politics, or art.
Craft Your Statement
Now we are ready to write your personal brand statement. Once again, this statement is a preliminary input into your more comprehensive brand strategy.
Moreover, anytime you need to briefly summarize yourself you can refer to this and not fumble over your words when communicating in a professional or personal context.
The insights from the last two activities will serve as inputs into this process however at this point we want to start refining to get at the essence of who you are and impact you want to have on the world.
1. Ask yourself these thought provoking questions.
- What do you deeply believe in?
- What do you care most about?
- What is unique about you?
- What can you do better than most?
- What would you spend time doing even without pay?
- What types of things do you naturally gravitate to?
2. Write down a series of short descriptions based on the answers above.
Try to fill in the blanks for each of the sentences below:
- I am ____
- I have ____
- I believe ____
- I desire ____
3. Pick the most meaningful phrases from the descriptions above and craft your brand statement.
Look out for words or phrases that evoke an emotional response in you. The most important part of this exercise is creating something that you believe in. If you believe in it it won't be hard to convince others.
To walk you through the statement crafting process, here is how I approached this exercise.
My short descriptions based on the thought-provoking questions I answered (after my self-reflection and goal-setting activities) were:
I believe beauty is at the core of every positive experience and lack of beauty at the core of every negative experience.
I have a deep appreciation for beauty and strong aesthetic sensibility.
I am an essentialist and care about eliminating unnecessary clutter in every aspect of life so I can get at the core of what matters.
I am altruistic and want my life purpose to be linked to helping others.
I have a rare combination of strategic and creative abilities. I think like an entrepreneur but feel like an artist.
My concise two-sentence personal brand statement based on the short descriptions is:
I am a brand strategist and creative entrepreneur with a love of design, strong aesthetic sense, and minimalist's sensibility. I create simple and beautiful moments, experiences, content, and brands, that improve the quality of life for thousands of people.
Typically when I advise startups, small businesses, and even large corporations, on their brand strategy we don't need to craft a statement prior to jumping into my brand framework (instead it's baked into the process).
That's because there's an unwritten rule that any new venture or product must have a well-articulated "elevator pitch" as requisite for validation and launch.
Individuals are different. When I work with professionals, executives, or entrepreneurs on their personal brand there's not always a clear sense of where to start.
So the personal brand statement process is simple pre-work to make sure you're starting to brand yourself on a solid personal vision. It is difficult to position a person to the world who doesn't have a clear sense of self.
I encourage you to approach this activity over the course of a few days instead of trying to go at it all in one sitting.
As you dig into your interests, beliefs, and goals, you'll need time to put all these ideas into proper perspective so the end product isn't haphazardly pieced together.
Thinking strategically about yourself will lead to more confidence, stronger conviction in the inspired action you take against your priorities, and could be just the catalyst you need to reach new heights in all areas of life.