12 Essential Elements to Define your Personal Brand Identity

12 Essential Elements to Define your Personal Brand Identity

by David Gaudreault, Entrepreneur, Maker, Online Marketing and Personal Branding Specialist

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Please note that to ensure my impartiality, I first make my recommendations and then, I check the possibility of an affiliation. I do it with the sole purpose of financing the costs associated with the creation of more valuable content for this blog. Thanks for your support and understanding.

Personal Branding - How to define your personal brand identity

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When you look closely at your personal website, does it really show your personality? Your points of differentiation? Your skills? Your values?

Can you see clear branding guidelines?

On your social media pages, do you see consistency between your website and your pages?

By that I mean, does anyone visiting one of your social media pages recognize your brand right away?

The reality is that most people (and many start-ups as well) build their website BEFORE building their brand identity.

In the process, they get a logo designed and write some text on the corner of a napkin to fill in their main pages, and this becomes pretty much their brand identity.

Is it also your case?

The problem is if you don’t define your brand identity right from the start:

  1. You won’t be able to achieve brand consistency among your various platforms
  2. A gap may exist between your branded message and who you really are. So you will lose authenticity by promoting a different person from who you really are.
  3. In the worst case scenario, by avoiding critical introspection work, you risk heading into a niche that does not take advantage of your talents and strengths and isn’t a good fit with your personality.

The good news is it is never too late to define or redefine your brand identity and then, update your website and social media platforms to achieve brand consistency.

Start by defining the 12 below-described elements and then use them across all your channels.

1-Points of differentiation

What makes you unique?

How do you differ from your colleagues or competitors?

What is compelling about you and what you do?

Why are you different?

I’m not talking about general traits that apply mostly to anyone, like: “I care about my customer” or “I’m respectful and professional”.

I’m talking about your true points of differentiation. Only you can… Only you are… Only you have…

Ask your customers, your friends, your colleagues why they enjoy working with you? Why do they keep doing business with you? Why would they ever refer you?

If you think people appreciate you for your coding skills, but in fact, they come to you for your communication skills, it will affect your marketing strategy!

Instead of promoting your coding skills, you may rather promote the fact that you are the only programmer out there being able to properly understand your customers’ needs and explain complex technological concepts to neophytes.

2-Strengths

Your strengths emerge from your natural talents and are described by a simple formula:

Strength = talent X investment

Meaning you can invest an infinite amount of time working on developing a skill, if you have no natural talent at all, you will never be able to turn it into a strength and achieve great performance.

For example, if you have no rhythm at all and musical ear, you will never be able to properly play any instrument.

Inversely, if you have a talent, but invest no time developing your talent, you will never turn it into a strength.

Finally, when you have a talent and fully invest yourself in developing your talent, you turn it into a strength, the capacity to achieve near-perfect performance in everything you do.

To identify your strengths, you can take benefit of the following book by Don Clifton:

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Don Clifton. It comes with a code for an online test that is very helpful to identify your strengths. Make sure to buy the book new otherwise the code inside the book to access the online test will be deprecated.

3-Skills

A skill implies the knowledge, the ability and the experience required to perform a given task.

When we build a personal brand, we usually promote ourselves as an expert in a specific niche, ideally a niche where you will fully take advantage of your talents and strengths.

That said, to become an expert in your niche, perform well and develop yourself to your full potential, you will need a skillset.

There are two types of skills, soft skill,  and hard skills:

Soft Skills: defined as interpersonal aptitudes and character traits that impact your ability to work with others in harmony and productivity. They relate to emotional intelligence.

Examples of soft skills are teamwork, communication, adaptability, problem-solving, creativity, work ethic, critical thinking, time management, empathy, conflict management, etc.

Hard Skills: job-specific skills usually quantifiable and teachable.

Examples of hard skills are programming, design, accounting, mathematics, language, mechanical, etc.

The idea is to identify the skills you need to become an expert in your industry, and in consideration of your current skills, identity and develop the skills that you need to be fully proficient in your field.

4-Personality and Archetypes

We all have a unique personality and while building our personal brand, it is very important to stay honest and authentic to our personality.

Personal branding is not a role in a play, you have to be yourself and the best way to stay loyal to your personality is to stay yourself without hiding anything.

You can use some tools to help you learn more about your personality traits. One free and very good tool available in various languages is:

  • 16personalities: It is a free online test and a very good resource to identify your Myers & Briggs personality type. They provide a great report with a lot of information.

The 12 Brand Archetypes

Personal Branding - How to define your personal brand identity - Archetypes

Source: Iconic Fox

There are 12 brand archetypes used in marketing to anchor your message to strong narratives and symbolism and connect effectively with your audience.

For more information, please check out 12 Brand Archetypes Used in Marketing

  1. OUTLAWS are disruptive, rebellious and combative and for them, rules are made to be broken.
  2. MAGICIANS are mystical, informed and reassuring and for them, all your dreams can come true if you believe.
  3. HEROES are honest, candid and brave and for them, they can make the world better through courage and determination
  4. LOVERS are sensual, empathetic and soothing and for them, their striking beauty is impossible to ignore.
  5. JESTERS are fun loving, playful and optimistic and they are here for the short time and want to be part of the dance.
  6. REGULAR GUYS/GIRLS (EVERYMAN) are friendly, humble and authentic and for them, everybody is equal and can live together in harmony.
  7. CAREGIVERS are caring, warm and reassuring and for them, everyone deserves care and protection, especially those in need.
  8. RULERS are commanding, refined and articulate and for them, prosperity, success, and power is everything.
  9. CREATORS are inspirational, daring and provocative and for them, if it can be imagined, it can be created.
  10. INNOCENTS are optimistic, honest and humble and they want themselves and everyone to be happy.
  11. SAGES are knowledgeable, assured and guiding and for them, education and knowledge is everything.
  12. EXPLORERS are exciting, fearless and daring and for them making their life count is the most important.

7 Types of Content Producer

Finally, to promote your expertise and showcase yourself, you need to produce content.

There are 7 types of content producer and it is interesting to determine which types you want to be.

As you can imagine, you are not limited to one type. You can produce content in various ways and be a multi-type producer.

You can read more on the subject in this article by Nicolas Cole.

  1. THE CONTENT CREATOR: you create the content yourself
  2. THE CURATOR: you find and share all the best content from the best sources and position yourself as the “go to” person
  3. THE JOURNALIST: you comment on what’s going on in the world with an objective point of view.
  4. THE INSTIGATOR / CRITIC: you critic the world and you become a devil’s advocate in your industry
  5. THE CASE STUDY: as an early adopter, you test everything yourself and teach the world from your learning and experience.
  6. THE “REGULAR PERSON”: just you being truly you, showing the world your life in the most genuine way.
  7. THE INDUSTRY EXPERT: know what you are talking about and people come to you for advice.

5-Values, beliefs, convictions

This element is very important because personal branding is about attracting opportunities and we want to attract opportunities that will be in harmony with our values, our beliefs, and our convictions.

The last thing we want is to find ourselves in the middle of a business conflict caused by a clash in values, beliefs, and conviction.

For example, if you have strong environmental values that exceed your desire to make a profit, you must promote it very clearly upfront and find collaborators and partners sharing your values and convictions.

People that will place a high value on making business decisions that respect the environment.

The same thing applies to religious beliefs, work ethic, redistribution of wealth, fair trade, etc.

6-Vision of your future

Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years?

The decision you take today will affect your professional path for many years.

So make sure to envision where you want to be and the person you want to become, and take the right decisions that will take you where you really want to be.

Short term decisions will give you instant rewards, but will usually not make you progress in life and will not help you achieve your greater vision.

7-Goals

You should set short, medium and long-term SMART goals for your career and for the development of your personal brand.

  • Specific – choose well-defined goals. Avoid general goals
  • Measurable – you need a way to track your progress
  • Attainable – make sure it is realistic and figure out how you will reach your goals
  • Relevant – choose goals that really matter and relevant to your vision
  • Timely – commit to a pre-determined deadline

Short and medium-term goals will be a real driver to get up early in the morning or work late at night to get things done while long-term goals will help you focus on the right and meaningful things that will help you achieve your greater vision.

Goals are real motivators and they should drive passion, excitement, and enthusiasm inside of you.

9 Goals That You Should Continuously Work on to Build a Strong Personal Brand

In addition to your career goals, you should continuously set goals specific to developing your personal brand.

Below is a list of 9 important goals you should be focusing on to develop a strong brand:

  1. Build your Brand Awareness – Be Bold and Be Known
  2. Build your Authority and Thought Leadership: Establish trust and become the “go to” person
  3. Increase your leads – potential people that will buy from you
  4. Increase your sales
  5. Speed up sales cycle – Close sales quicker
  6. Connect with influencers – develop an influencer marketing strategy
  7. Get public speaking opportunities
  8. Build your community and tribe as you will do things bigger as a group as you by yourself
  9. Increase engagement with your community

8-Roadmap

The roadmap is just as important as the goals because the path is just as important as the destination.

Indeed, all roads lead to Rome, but not all of them will allow you to realize yourself to your full potential.

Not all the professional paths will allow you to enjoy the climb as much as the summit and to enjoy the struggle as much as the reward.

If you want to be happy professionally, feel fulfilled and engaged every day of your life, you need to choose a path that will be meaningful to you.

For example, you could have the dream and long-term goal of winning a Nobel Prize, but there are hundreds of different ways to achieve this goal.

You could spend your entire life in a laboratory trying to discover the next big scientific breakthrough or spend your life in the street committed to activism that would lead to a social breakthrough. Both paths could eventually lead you to the Nobel Prize.

However, you will endure each path very differently. In the first case, you may hate being cloistered in a laboratory while being an activist on the street could make you feel alive like never before!

9-Style and Appearance

The first impression is important, but beyond that first impression there is YOU and you need to be fully comfortable with your style and appearance. That is the most important!

If you feel like you should dress differently to work in your industry, maybe you are not in the right industry in the first place.

You need to fully embrace who you are and feel fully comfortable with your style and appearance.

That said, if you want to dress like a rock star and at the same time work in the banking industry or be a lawyer at the court, it is not going to work.

You can’t ignore the fact that societies have codes, rules, practices, habits, and cultures and if the industry your work in imposes a dressing code that you are not willing to stand for, you will have to choose between your ideal style and your industry dressing code.

10-Message

Your message is used to describe your value proposition, your purpose and mission, position your brand in the market and describe your key differentiators.

It is made of various elements such as your taglines, your slogans, your headlines, your biography, your sales pitch, etc.

All these elements share a few common traits. They are usually oversimplified, straight to the point, brief and very efficient.

Core Brand Message

You should define your fundamental core brand message that describes you and how you stand apart from your competitors, and your mission. You should communicate your values and key differentiators that define yourself.

A message that will be inspiring, persuading and motivating.

In addition to your core message, you will have various supportive messages the will convey specific services and address the interests of different segments of your audience.

All those messages should be concise, relevant and resonate with your audience.

11-Stories

People won’t remember your facts, data, statistics, results or curriculum, but they will remember your stories because stories build emotional engagement and stimulate a different part of the brain.

As explained by Gabrielle Dolan in Stories for Work, stories:

  • Provoke emotions in our brain and body
  • Stimulate the release of the love hormone oxytocin
  • Make us feel something towards the person telling the story
  • Help build trust and credibility
  • Influence our audience into making a decision
  • Aid in focusing listeners on key messages
  • Help us to remember details rather than just facts and logic alone.

Stories are therefore a very powerful tool to get your audience attention and communicate your message very efficiently

12-Brand Visual

Your brand visual includes the following elements:

  1. Logo
  2. Typography (fonts)
  3. Photos of yourself
  4. Color palette including black & white
  5. Supporting graphical elements
  6. Image style
  7. Thumbnail styles
  8. Layouts – how your present the various elements
  9. Templates

It is recommended to include your exact specifications in a style guide, which help you keep track of your visual brand identity.

You may also be interested in reading chapter 1 of my guide on personal branding which provides actionable tips to create your brand identity:

Conclusion

In this article, I covered 12 essential elements to build the identity of your personal brand.

  1. Points of differentiation
  2. Strengths
  3. Skills
  4. Personalities & Archetypes
  5. Values, beliefs, convictions
  6. The vision of your future
  7. Goals
  8. Roadmap
  9. Style and appearance
  10. Message
  11. Stories
  12. Brand Visual

Each one of them should be properly defined and remain consistent across all your channels.

Who is David Gaudreault?

David Gaudreault Bio - David's Way

I'm an entrepreneur, a maker, an online marketer...and Personal branding passionate.

I help entrepreneurs develop two essentials for building a successful startup: (1) building a strong personal brand and (2) building solid foundations of passive incomes to gain professional freedom.

I also help entrepreneurs find their big ideas, execute them right, impact millions with their businesses, and change the world.

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CHAPTER 1: CREATING YOUR BRAND IDENTITY!

1. Draft the Guidelines of Your Brand
2. Choose the Name of Your Brand
3. Write Down a Short Description of Your Mission and Supportive Tag Lines
4. Write Down Your Stories
5. Learn the Basics of Graphic Design and Video Editing
6. Get a Good Camera and Studio Equipment
7. Take an Awesome Picture of Yourself
8. Choose your Brand Colors
9. Design your Logo
10. Secure a Domain
11. Secure Your Social Profiles

CHAPTER 2: BUILDING YOUR BRAND ASSETS!

12. Build a Website & a Blog
13. Setup Google Analytics
14. Setup Facebook Pixel
15. Setup Your Professional Email Address
16. Design Your Social Media Pages
17. Get Your Professional Business Cards

CHAPTER 3: CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT – BLOG POSTS!

18. Creating Engaging Content – Blog Writing

CHAPTER 4: CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT – PHOTOS & VIDEOS!

19. Creating Engaging Content – Videos
20. Creating Engaging Content – Going Live
21. Creating Engaging Content – Photos & Images

CHAPTER 5: CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGIES!

22. Cross-Platform Content Integration
23. Engage with Your Visitors Using a Chat Plugin
24. Connect and Collaborate with Influencers
25. Build your Email List with Lead Magnets
26. Subscribe to a Marketing Automation Platform
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28. Start Sending Web Push Notifications
29. Get Exposure by Guest Blogging
30. Get Exposure using LinkedIn
31. Get your Own Brands of Merchandise
32. Increase Your Visibility with Online Advertising
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34. Get Exposure using Webinars
35. Get Exposure using Seminars

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