According to LiveScience.com, chemistry is the study of matter, its properties, how and why substances combine or separate to form other substances, and how they interact with energy. You could say the same principles apply when it comes to personal branding. Inside each of us is a complex combination of substances which determine how we are perceived by and interact with the world. Each is determined by factors such as our genetics, family dynamics, experiences, education, occupation, personal beliefs, spiritual connections, and more. The unique combination of these physical and chemical properties can create a desired (or undesired) outcome.
With this thought in mind, we’ve created a core list of characteristics (properties, if you will) that are inherent in every strong personal brand. It’s the mixture of these characteristics that makes the compound brand. And while each is mutually exclusive, together they create a ripple-like reaction that turns professional into personal, and back again.
The most compelling brands are the boldest brands. People with bold brands aren’t afraid to state who they are or what they represent, and they make no apologies for putting their message and image out there. The main motivation behind the boldness is the realization that their brand isn’t entirely about them. It’s about the help they can provide to others based on the hard work they’ve put into their profession and the promise they fulfill.
In everyone’s life, difficulties will arise. We inevitably face rejection, failures, and shortcomings. The capacity to recover as quickly as possible is a trait shared by the strongest brands. If we only have positive outcomes, how will we ever learn to deal with adversity? And when we overcome challenges both large and small, we strengthen our core to face the next obstacle and prove that we can rise above our circumstances.
This is perhaps the trait most necessary for credibility, and it should be the easiest to achieve. Your personal brand is an extension of everything that makes you a complex being of character. There is a star inside of each person, made of their own lifetime of galaxies, and just like stars, there is no brand quite like another. Every human being is unique, and able to provide value, especially in well defined situations where they are best suited to thrive. When the stars are aligned (i.e. you match well with your ideal customers), there is an innate level of genuine trust that cannot be overemphasized.
A person who displays a nurturing personality is one who will always be appreciated, in all circles and spheres. This trait lies at the core of service to others, with a genuine determination to help someone not only achieve a goal, but a clear understanding of the process and expectations along the way. As our customers enter into unknown territory, the ability to nurture becomes essential in order to provide confidence in both the person and the process.
This is perhaps the most powerful element of all, and the most elusive at times. Many of us wonder what truly sets us apart from everyone else in our industry. When it seems as though the steps, criteria, and goals are equal among competitors, it can be quite difficult to focus on a point of differentiation. The truth is, you have many. The greater truth is, you only need to open the door with one of them.
This element may be deciphered multiple ways. First, if we have faith in someone or something greater than ourselves, our purpose is focused toward a greater good. Second, we must be faithful in our approach and display of our own personal brand, for only then will you achieve the recognition and riches you deserve. And finally, faith in yourself and what you stand for will help you maintain direction and provide more rewards than you can imagine.
Confucius said, “The only thing constant is change”. The strongest brands are prepared to roll with the punches, pivot, and shift with each sharp turn. The double entendre effect of this characteristic is the ability to adapt to our customer’s needs from their point of view and understanding, as well as the ability to adapt to a changing landscape or industry. Adaptability is one of the greatest strengths in the sales arena, period.
Most professionals do not suffer from a lack of confidence to perform the task at hand, but may indeed lack the confidence necessary to promote themselves boldly. However, once that obstacle is breached, a world of opportunity opens in ways that surprise even the boldest among us. Confidence is truly the secret element that can move a brand from ordinary to extraordinary. After all, “a great brand doesn’t just change the way others see you...it changes the way you see yourself.”
Being recognized as an expert in your field is the edge that pushes a brand beyond recognition and into a solid return on investment. All the other traits are admirable and even necessary, but without knowledge and expertise, most people don’t reap the rewards of respect and referrals. Luckily, this is achieved through education and practice. However, let it not be lost that education without awareness brings obscurity. That’s why it’s important to infuse your expertise into the definition, development, and display of your brand with purpose and passion.