7 Questions to Uncover Your Personal Brand

Recently I was asked if I thought social media makes people more or less authentic. Honestly? I think social media FORCES authenticity.

And that's because it's so easy to sniff out the frauds on social media. People can just tell and they don't want to hear from people who aren't real. 

So many people are struggling to find their voice and figure out who they are. If you are in the same spot, that's because you haven't uncovered your personal brand yet. 

So today I have asked my friend, Sheri Collins, to help you do exactly that!

Sheri is my resident personal branding EXPERT. She hustled her way into a job interning for yours truly and I am proud to say she has now been with The Shark Group for nearly 10 years and is now the Sales & Marketing Manager for our Speaking Division.

Before I scooped Sheri up, she was a Director of Marketing with 15+ years of corporate experience. She's also a freelance brand stylist. (By now you might have noticed that most of my team have businesses of their own - and that's because I value people who walk the walk.)

So, I'm going to let Sheri take it away: 

7 Questions to Uncover Your Personal Brand

Hi, guys! It's Sheri. At Daymond’s Inner Circle Coaching program in New York City, I lead a session on “How to Personify Your Brand.” It could also be called “How to Define Yourself in 2 to 5 Words.” Daymond often asks people if they can describe themselves in 2-5 words. Some of you know these words quickly, but more often many feel challenged to come up with them on their own.  

Figuring out this concise definition of ourselves can lead to blank stares, lapses in memory and copy-cat answers that are not authentic. Sometimes you just need a little inspiration; you need a muse! Lucky for you that is my personal brand, “I’m a muse sent to inspire and create brands with clarity and purpose.”  

I usually start my session by asking one simple question, “How do you make a great first impression today?” The answers I usually get are “a firm handshake” or “make eye contact,” when you meet someone in person.  It doesn’t matter if I am speaking to Baby Boomers or Gen-Zers, I am surprised the answers are still so “old school.”  

Then I ask a second question, “How do you feel when you can’t find any information about a person online?”  The answers are things like “they have something to hide” or “they are behind the times” and other negative impressions.  Then I can almost see the light bulbs begin to turn on above their heads.

Today, that first impression is often made online from a website or social media platform. The truth is the internet has changed the relationships between you and EVERYBODY else. There is literally nowhere to hide and if you do try to hide, it’s gonna cost you. The bottom line is you are a brand whether you want to be or not. Reputation matters today more than ever before.  

In his new book POWERSHIFT, Daymond writes:

“Whatever it is, our reputation attaches to us in a fundamental way and becomes not only part of the story we tell about ourselves, but part of the story other people tell about us.” 

I am going to get you started on the first step in your Powershift journey to building influence by setting you on a path to uncover your personal brand.  My goal is to bring you two very important things: clarity and purpose. Let me introduce you to what I call “Personal Branding with Style,” using the elements of style to create an authentic personal brand. I want you to be confident in your personal style and how it influences your brand and makes you distinctive in the marketplace.  

I see personal style a little differently. Many people think of style as nothing more than what you wear.  When I branded myself, The Curvy Stylist, more than 10 years ago, I defined personal style as the way we navigated the world of fashion. I’ve discovered that it is so much deeper; it defines our personality and impact on the world around us.  Now I see personal style as the way we make our way over challenges and seize the opportunities in our lives.  

Just look up the word “style” and see for yourself. Style is defined as “a distinctive manner or custom of behaving or conducting oneself: a particular manner or technique by which something is done, created, or performed".... I can feel your lightbulbs clicking on now.  

I am inspired in my work by this verse in the Bible, 

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made; a marvelous work of God. Do you not know it?”

Your personal style should be an asset, making you feel more confident, not a liability to your brand, holding you back in your POWERSHIFT.  Each of us has been given gifts, talents and abilities unique to us. Think of these as your brand assets. This literally means that NOBODY CAN DO IT LIKE YOU DO IT. PERIOD!  

Bishop TD Jakes defined it this way, 

“A brand is a promise. It is what we get when we get you”  

How do you uncover your personal style, find your niche, and stand out against the competition?  I am glad you asked.  I have a little exercise for you called the Cover Story Vision.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.  If you can dream it, you can become it.”  ~ William Arthur Ward

The Cover Story Vision exercise: 

Imagine you are going to be on the cover of a national magazine in the future about 5 or 10 years from now.  I am challenging you to DREAM BIG here, after all, it is the cover of a major magazine! What magazine is it? What is the story being told about you? What image is on the cover? What is the caption with the image? Bingo! It’s your 2 to 5 words!

Only give yourself about 30 minutes to answer the questions. Once you have the answers, spend another 30 minutes creating your cover and the caption. If your caption is more than 5 words, don’t worry you can edit them later. No long dissertations here folks. Think of it as your elevator pitch for your personal brand. 

Here are 7 questions to get your thoughts started: 

1. What is the most fascinating thing about me?
2. What do people really want from me enough to pay me for it? 
3. What’s the story other people tell others about me?
4. Why did I build this business or chose this career?
5. What is the impact I really want to have?
6. What three things do I stand for?
7. What three things do I stand against? 

I am purposely not giving you any more direction than this because I am a muse sent to inspire creativity, not to tell you who you are.  You must tap into the creative spirit inside you to do this work.  

Chase Jarvis, author of Creative Calling, put it this way: 

“Unleashing your creative capacity is, in fact, your highest calling, the key to shaping the arc of your life.” 

I would love to see your cover story vision. Connect with me on Linkedin. Follow me @TheCurvyStylist on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. 

Have fun!!

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