Nonprofits and startups aren’t the only ones who start movements that matter.

People do too.

In fact, people inspire movements more easily than logos and brands. Yet, with all the talk and tools about personal branding, the noise makes it harder than ever for politicians, authors, founders, artists and would-be-celebs to create a personal brand.

Whatever you’re doing, stop for just a few minutes and ask yourself whether your own personal brand is clear, because you too can start a movement, you just need the clarity to do it.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with my own personal brand, so I know first hand the challenges. I’ve also helped others refine and increase the reach of their personal brand. Trust me, it’s much easier to do it for someone else than it is yourself. That’s one reason why I like focusing on digital branding for personalities; it’s exciting and refreshing to focus on someone else’s mission and to see them through to success.

Yes, being authentic is important, but a personality brand is a persona. It’s both more complicated and more flat than an actual person. Personal brands are more complicated because they need to be pared down to be both easy to understand and inspiring.

Very few successful personal brands are actually accidental. Most if not all have evolved.

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That said, I’ve learned a few things a long the way that anyone looking to make an impact in their field can benefit from and I wanted to share it with you.

Define Yourself In Three Words

What do you stand for? What do you do? Narrow it down to three easy to remember words. It doesn’t have to be a sentence, it can simply be three values you stand for. Once you have these three words clarified, then you can center the rest of your messaging around these words and reinforce them regularly.

It used to be that people needed to be exposed to an idea 7 times before they remembered it, but with all the clutter we’re experiencing today, I’d say it’s more like twelve times. Because you need so many views from a single individual, it’s more important than ever to have absolute clarity and consistency. Three. Small. Words.

Think About Who You Want to Attract

It’s important to be true to you. But it’s just as important to think about the people you want to attract. If you attract the wrong fans, customers or attention then you’ll be unhappy in your brand. If you like being around sarcastic, caustic people – be the person they want to be around too. If you like being around creatives be the person they want to be around.

You don’t have to be like your audience to attract the audience, you just have to be someone they can get behind.

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Think about people you genuinely like being around, what do they tell you about why they love being with you? Maybe it’s your irreverent sense of humor, maybe it’s your questioning nature…what is it and how can you emphasize those elements. You CAN be you, you just need to strongly emphasize the elements of your personality that will attract those people.

Take Us On Your Journey

There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a personal brand who openly and honest about their experiences. Sharing challenges makes it easier to celebrate successes. I’m not suggesting that you tell everyone your deepest darkest secrets, but revealing yourself is endearing. It creates empathy.

Think about the way Lady Gaga, an immensely powerful brand as a strong woman opens her heart up to her fans regularly. Even her individualist anthem Born This Way suggests a struggle to accept herself.  These vulnerabilities fit in perfectly with her audience whom she had been encouraging to be themselves and find themselves. Showing a little underbelly actually makes her seem stronger.

What underbelly can you show?

 

Own It

You’ll know your brand is strong when you get haters. The stronger your brand the bigger your threat.

When personal brands get haters because the vitriol can be frightening. But coming up with a brand consistent way to deal with haters is the best you can do. Many times ignoring the haters is the best thing to do.

I’ve also found that it’s helpful to have a third party reviewing comments so the person doesn’t have as much exposure to negative comments, which can be challenging to even the strongest of egos.

The best managed personal brands take a breath and carefully chose their battles and almost never engage the trolls.

I’m interested in hearing more about your personal branding challenges. What’s working for you, what lessons have you learned?