Identify Your Personality Brand Identity Traits
Your personality traits are an important part of your personal brand. Let’s get our notebooks out (you still have a pen and paper notebook right??) and start by listing 3-5 adjectives that describe your personality.
Don’t BS yourself ok? Be honest with yourself and avoid trying to only list positive traits. The goal is to create an authentic personal brand, not an idealized version of yourself.
I can guarantee you right now ‘Energetic’ is the FIRST one on my list.
Here are a bunch of personality traits to get you thinking:
Once you have your 3-5 traits written down, reflect on how these traits shape your behavior, attitudes, and interactions with others. How are they influencing your communication style, work habits, decision-making, etc?
You need to get clarity on your innate personality traits so you can allow yourself to build a personal brand that is authentic to who you really are.
Define Your Values
Your core values are the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles that dictate your behavior and actions. It’s the DNA for your business.
Defining your top 3-5 core values is an integral part of developing your personal brand identity, as your values should be reflected consistently in everything you do.
Grab the notebook again (you DID grab one before, right?!?) and start by brainstorming a list of values that you believe are important and resonate with you. Be introspective and think about what really matters to you in life.
Not the bullshit fluff.
Here’s a few examples of common personal values:
Once you have your list together, narrow it down to 3-5 values that are most essential to you and align with how you want to spend your days in helping clients.
Which of these values are non-negotiable to me?
Which values align with my personality, passions, and purpose?
Which values do I want to guide my actions and words each day?
Choose values that truly represent your inner beliefs, not just values that sound good. There are enough people out there full of shit, we don’t need anyone else to join those ranks.
It’s so much more valuable to be able to articulate your core values so you can help ensure your personal brand is built on an authentic foundation.
Identify Your Strengths
Okay, now it’s time to get into the details. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your core professional strengths and skills when building your personal brand.
Make a list of the things you excel at and feel most confident in. This can include both hard skills as well as soft skills.
Take a look inside and analyze your history and feedback from past jobs if this is your first time in a consulting business, or from the feedback of past clients to determine where you shine. Reflect on your biggest accomplishments and the skills that enabled that success. Also, consider skills that come naturally to you.
Bust out that notebook again and write down and prioritize the top 5-10 strengths and abilities that you want to highlight in your personal brand.
These are the things that make you uniquely… YOU!
Example: If you’re extremely organized and detail-oriented, analytical skills could be one of your brand pillars.
Understanding your strengths allows you to emphasize and reinforce what makes you stand out. It enables you to communicate your value and build a personal brand centered around your best qualities and talents.
Positioning yourself around your authentic strengths makes your brand much more compelling.
Determine Your Passions (Yeah, we’re not working every day and hating it)
Your passions and causes that matter to you are key ingredients in your personal brand. Think deeply about the topics and issues that wake you up and get the wheels turning. What gets you excited and motivated? What are you willing to advocate for?
Make a list of your top passions, interests, and causes. Get very specific instead of just listing broad categories. For example, instead of just writing “education”, you could say “making quality education accessible to underprivileged communities.”
Reflect on moments in your life when you felt truly engaged with purpose.
When did you feel a calling or desire to take action… to make a difference?
What were you doing?
Who were you with?
Revisiting these memories can help identify forgotten or long-since-buried passions from when you got caught up in the rat race of life, family, etc. Hell, we’ve all been there and lost at some point. It’s important to find that way once again.
Consider the activities you enjoy outside of work. Your hobbies, memberships, or volunteer work more than likely connect to passions. If you enjoy painting portraits of yourself lying on a bearskin rug on the weekends, creativity could be a core passion.
Determining the issues and topics you’re passionate about will help clarify the purpose and motivation behind your personal brand. Aligning your brand with your true passions will instill authenticity and help differentiate you from others.
Establish Your Purpose
Your purpose is at the core of your personal brand and business.
It encompasses your mission, vision, and goals for your company.
Defining a clear purpose will guide your brand voice, personality, and actions.
To establish your purpose:
Identify your motivation for starting a business. Was it to make an impact? Fill a need? Express creativity? Understanding what drives you will shape your purpose. The accountant and video producer showed up with two completely different purposes.
Define your mission – the fundamental goal and overall contribution of your business. Your mission should inspire you daily and be your catalyst for content.
Articulate your vision – your aspirational description of the future success of your company. Envision the change you want to create in the world.
Set strategic goals that align with your mission and vision. Having defined short and long-term goals gives direction to take purposeful action. From smaller content chunks to long-form informative articles (like what you’re reading now) all have their purposes and can interconnect to show the full story.
Your purpose acts as an internal compass when building your brand. Let it reflect who you are at your core and what you want your business to represent to others. With a clear sense of purpose, your personal brand will resonate with aligned values, passion, and impact.
Analyze Your Audience
The most important step in determining your personal brand is understanding your audience. Your brand should directly speak to their needs, interests, pain points, and desires.
Ask yourself, who do I want to serve?
Get crystal clear on the demographics of your target audience including their age, location, gender, income level, industry, education, etc. Create an ideal customer avatar that represents your perfect customer. Give this persona a name and imagine their specific attributes. I always name mine Fred, your miles may vary.
Next, we have to dig into psychographics to uncover your audience’s values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Analyze what motivates them and what challenges they face. Research where they spend their time both online and offline. Figure your ‘Fred’ out from when they wake up until they go to sleep for the entire week.
Who are they, what are there, and where are they?
Understand their content consumption habits. What types of information do they search for? What social media platforms do they use? What publications, trade journals or blogs do they read?
Gather insights directly from your audience by monitoring social media conversations, conducting interviews or surveys, and exploring reviews and comments. Build a hashtag database for both how to find them, and where to get in front of them… both matter. Empathize with their point of view to grasp their needs and pain points.
Getting to the core of who you want to serve will enable you to tailor your brand messaging and content specifically for them. It all starts with really getting to know your audience. Otherwise, you’re just shouting at the world and not helping anyone at all.
You can read additional content about identifying your ideal client on this post.
Define Your Niche
Are you owning a niche that allows you to stand out from your competitors?
Determine what makes you unique, special, or different compared to others in your field or industry. This could be your background, experiences, skills, approach, interests or perspective that sets you apart.
Get very focused and specific on your niche. The narrower the niche, the easier it is for you to dominate it and become the go-to expert in your field. If your niche is too broad, you’ll blend in with countless others and struggle to establish yourself.
Let’s cut the BS and really hone in on your niche by asking yourself questions like:
- What do I do better or differently than anyone else?
- What makes my approach or perspective unique?
- What do people frequently ask me for advice or insights about?
- What do I specialize in within my profession?
- What do I get the most compliments, praise, or positive feedback on?
Clearly defining and focusing on your niche is critical for standing out and being distinctive. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
Find the narrow section of the market where you can be the leading expert and voice. Craft your brand identity around your specialized niche for maximum impact. After all, you want to do something you have strength in and are passionate about so when you wake up every day, you love what you do.
Develop Your Tone
Your tone refers to the style and voice you use in your messaging and content. This can significantly impact how your audience perceives you. When developing your tone, think about the image you want to project and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience.
Admittedly, my tone is probably a little bit too energetic and slightly aggressive. The thing is, I’m OK with that because it’s honestly just my passion for helping people coming through and if it makes someone run away, they’re sure not going to like what else I’ll have to say.
Some elements to consider when defining your tone include:
- How approachable / friendly are you
- Degree of professionalism and expertise
- Warmth, excitement, and enthusiasm
- Simplicity and clarity
- Wit, humor, and personality
- Confidence and passion
Your tone should align with your brand values, personality, and industry.
For example, a financial advisor may opt for a more formal tone to convey trust and credibility, while a marketing professional might prefer an upbeat, conversational style.
Think about the adjectives you want associated with your brand.
Do you want to come across as intelligent? Inspiring? Approachable? Write sample content and read it out loud. Make revisions until you land on a tone that feels true to your brand identity and to you as a person. If your email sounds one way, and you show up the polar opposite.. you’re going to lose any trust you have built.
I write, talk, zoom, handshake the same way. All day, every day. My energy is unending, my passion to meet new people and learn about them is always set to 11. It’s part of me and I share that all the time maybe even to a reckless level. Does it slow me down? Hell no. I’m always going to be authentically myself and I’m going to bring that energy 1000x over for my clients.
Aim for consistency across channels like your website, blogs, social media, videos, and newsletters. This helps reinforce your brand personality in all interactions. Periodically review your content and messaging to ensure you are maintaining the right tone as your brand evolves. I post reminders on my social channels to people all the time about this. Your tone should resonate with your core audience and help you connect with them on a deeper level.
Create Your Story
Your personal brand should have a story that conveys who you are and what you stand for.
This is your superhero of business origin story – how you got to where you are today. Tell your story in a compelling way that connects with your audience on an emotional level.
Start from the beginning and explain the sequence of events and experiences that shaped you. Be authentic and vulnerable – let your personality shine through. Share your struggles, failures, and challenges that ultimately led to your growth and successes. Convey your driving motivations, passions, and purpose. Share the journey!!
Highlight your unique perspective, what makes you different, and how you overcame the challenges you post about. Share any anecdotes or impactful moments that capture your essence. You want your audience to understand where you came from so they can relate to you.
Bring together all the elements of your brand into a cohesive narrative story arc. You can think of your social media and email campaigns like a Marvel movie series. They split them up into story arcs and then released 6-8 movies over the years for each one. Build your campaigns the same way, by the story.
Be careful though and make sure your story sets you apart while resonating with your audience. It should feel inspirational yet down-to-earth and approachable. Something they can set motion to start themselves and feel motivated by.
Your goal is to craft a relatable story that elicits an emotional response and forges a bond with your readers.
Bring It All Together
Home stretch here, hope you have filled at least one page on that notebook with some personality traits and values, tone indicators, etc. Aligning all the elements of your persona into a cohesive personal brand identity requires looking at how they interconnect and support each other. It’s a lot of moving parts combined for one awesome way for people to connect with you.
Your personality traits, values, strengths, and passions should all align to create an authentic representation of who you are and what you offer.
Ask yourself this…
- How do my personality traits support my core values and strengths?
- Which of my passions align with my values and provide the perfect outlet for my natural strengths?
- What is the overarching purpose or focus that unites my passions, values and strengths?
Your personal brand identity emerges from the intersection of these elements. Who you are at your core should be reflected across your values, strengths, passions, and purpose. When people ask ‘what does it mean to identity my personal brand?’ …. Now you know. There’s a LOT to it, but if you tackle this piece by piece you will get there and have a better understand of yourself and your business in the long run.
By identifying the common themes and through-lines across your traits, values, strengths, and passions, you can shape a personal brand in a way that authentically expresses your core self. This brand identity will guide your tone, voice, and story as you share your message with your audience and niche.
Stay true to who you are while ensuring alignment across the key elements of your persona. Be unapologetically you!
Alright.. put the notebook down. Mini-lesson complete. Now go be dangerous and put this all together and post up to me on your social of choice and show me what you’ve got. I’ll be waiting!