What is your personal brand and why should you have one?

by Alex Crimmins


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How do you describe yourself? If you are applying for jobs or board roles, how do you want people to view you? What is your brand mantra?

If you have ambitions to be a serving board member or a non-executive director, ask yourself, how will people perceive me?

To be considered for non-executive roles on boards, you must think, act, and plan like a business leader and define your skill, your passion and your purpose?

It is essential to keep an eye on how you appear in public and online. For example, how do you appear to others on social media? Have you Googled yourself recently? If so, what comes up? Clever and strategic leaders manage their reputations both online and in person.

In the social and digital age, we can all manage and craft a personal brand.

The first step towards creating a definitive personal brand is to write down your brand mantra. As people interact with you online and offline, they will develop a perception of who you are. So here’s what you’ll have to do – take charge of all those impressions.

Don’t leave your professional reputation to chance.

Start by writing down a few words

The first step is to decide what you stand for and who you are. It will help if you put it in words. For example, are you a “detail-oriented, financial planner” or a “creative, digital marketing specialist”?

Your brand mantra is the way you describe yourself to your professional networks and future networks. It’s how you want to be perceived by the outside world.

There are three key questions you should ask yourself and then answer:

1: How do you appeal to people? 

To start, think about your personality and how it is reflected when you interact with others. Are you very outgoing? Are you quite shy? Are you very detailed oriented? Do you prefer big picture thinking?

Consider the words that best describe your personality. They are referred to as emotional modifiers. Are you ‘creative’, ‘strategic’, ‘helpful’, ‘detail oriented’ or ‘energetic’, ‘thoughtful’, ‘caring’, ‘feisty’.

2: What’s your industry description?

Next, start to define your brand with a descriptive modifier, which clarifies the emotional modifier. You might belong to an industry (“legal” or “HR”) or have a specific skill (“design”, “digital transformation”, or “business development”). Describe your function.

3: Last but not least, what is your talent?

It might be something that directly relates to your ambition as a non-executive director: HR, digital transformation, or financial planning, for example.

Or, it might be something broader. Are you a former CEO, a financial advisor, someone with a vast network? Have you transformed the fortunes of a previous business? What skill can you bring to the boardroom table?

Ask yourself, what do I do that is my ‘superpower’? What makes me attractive to boards?

Finally, craft your mantra

Lastly, combine your three lists of words into a short sentence or phrase of no more than five words.

Brand mantras should communicate who you are; they should be memorable and inspiring and have a sense of purpose that people can see.

You might be a CEO who ‘turns businesses around by finding scalable growth strategies.’

Or you could be a ‘former tech executive specialising in growth strategies.’

Or you could be an ‘entrepreneur with a passion for high-potential startups.’

You could also get more creative and create a brand mantra that stands out, such as, ‘I spark new product ideas for companies with a stagnant pipeline’, or do what Larry Kym does and just go for it. His mantra is: ‘Be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys.

Brand Matra
Personal Brand

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