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7 Pillars of Personal Branding

I like a day of shopping for new clothes as much as, if not more than, most. I love the feeling of finding that one blouse or pair of pants that just “fit” – because, let’s admit it – some of you have that feeling too rarely. Is it because you’re a unique size? No, although I’ll give you that the disparate sizing in different store and designers is frustrating. Is it because you don’t know what you want, what looks good on you, or it’s just not screaming “you”?

That’s more likely.

Why? Because what you keep finding doesn’t reflect your personal brand. Your essence. Who you are. Stick with me on this.

I’m going to start out by sharing some definitions with you from the American Marketing Association:

  • Marketing: “The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

  • Branding: “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of others.”

Organizations spend millions – and sometimes more! – on the marketing and branding of their products. They spend a painstaking number of hours to ensure their clients and customers understand who they are, what they provide, what they stand for, and how they can provide it better than their competitors.

They use all the senses to get your attention: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, by using color, packaging, sounds, words, emotions, timing, scents, and memories, to name a few.

Why? Because they have an important message they want to share as clearly as possible. Because they want to be understood. To be recognized. To be desired. To be chosen. To be the best.

Extensive studies have been completed to determine how best to use the senses for communication, and how they work together to positively grow a brand.

Like any organization, you – yes, you! – have your own brand. And the same tactics and studies used by these organizations are used to create a personal brand just for you.

What is your personal brand? It is the intangible, immeasurable, impressionable image that others form and have of you. It's the impression you make, the feeling you create, the expectation you set, energy you exude, and the experience you provide.

And the clothing you wear is just one of many things that create it.

I call it the 7 Pillars of Personal Branding – "ABCDE-PM"

  1. Appearance. Listed first alphabetically, it is actually the final step of the development of a personal brand. The other steps – or pillars – create the foundation you need to execute the visual representation. Your appearance includes your wardrobe, hairstyle, ideal colors, grooming, and general visual aesthetics.

  2. Behaviors. This pillar includes etiquette and protocol, health and wellness practices, life management, and personal development.

  3. Communications. There are many layers to communications, and the other pillars are at least partially included. They include verbal and non-verbal forms, including body language; listening; public speaking, linguistics, the art of conversation, eloquence, and networking.

  4. Digital footprint. How do you show up in social media? Are you divisive, agreeable, supportive, or even absent? Do you people see the real you on-line or have you created a virtual world for yourself that is near make-believe? Once it’s on-line, even after you think you delete it, it’s there forever.

  5. Energy. What vibrations are you sharing and sending out into the world and universe? Do you help spread joy or create anxiety?

  6. Personal Spaces. The world you create around you is a reflection of who you are. Or at least it should be. Does it reflect you, or does it contrast with you? Think of a space that belongs to you (bedroom, office, or even your car). How do you feel in that space? Is it aligned with your authentic self?

  7. Mindset. This one is the BIG one. The choices and decisions you make. The way you see the world and yourself. How you move and exist in the world. It all starts here. If you don’t know who you are, the other pillars will remain unstable and eventually topple, or at the very least convey messaging that doesn’t reflect everything that is wonderfully unique about you.

Because you are wonderful. You are worthy. You have a spark to share with the world, and no one has been, is, or ever will be you. One of a kind. And it should be celebrated, worshipped, understood, loved. And I don’t mean by someone else – I mean by you.

If companies can be created and grown…if products can be developed, coveted, and valued…so can you. You are so much more valuable than any “thing” and you deserve the same treatment.

Does it take work? Darned right it does. Can it be difficult to create? It certainly can be. But is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

To confidently know that your personal message is being broadcast out to others accurately and with clarity is immeasurable. It results in influence, growth, and recognition. And you own it. No one can take it from you.

And when it all aligns, you’ll walk into a store and know what works for you. Or you’ll be brave to try something new because it has the energy you desire or may already have.

And you’ll know that You. Are. Worth. It.

Curious to learn more? Let’s chat…

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