Are You Doubting That You Have a Brand?

I was talking to a friend this week and she explained how she was not good at anything.   She volunteered for everything and no one knew about her.  Does this sound any bit familiar?

Been there.  I know you are a great helper.  If someone asks you to teach Sunday School or be on their special project or nonprofit committee or be assistant troop leader, do you without hesitation say “yes?”

Stop saying yes to everythingPut a Halt to This

STOP!  No more yeses.  First, my friend has a brand.  She is known as the volunteer person – the person that you can always count on to pitch in where-ever needed.  The problem with this is you never get a chance to use your true gifts – to stand out and feel like you are making a difference using your one-of-a-kind self.

I am not a great Sunday School teacher.  Instead, I am much better on a board position advising strategic direction. It isn’t that I can’t teach Sunday School – sure, I can follow the lesson plans and get excited with the kids.  However, my gifts are not in teaching a big group of young kids, there are others that are perfectly suited for this and come up with all kinds of creative ways to implement the lesson plans.  Instead, my gifts are visionary, leadership and pioneering new areas applying my experiences in my past.

So I volunteer in areas that use my gifts.  I turn down those that are not a great fit.  I want to be known and known powerfully in the areas that are my greatest strengths.

What Are Your Gifts?

So how do you determine your gifts, your areas of super powers?  A simple way is to ask others.  Ask 4 groups of people:

  • Current customers/clients/patients
  • Any fish that got away (those customers you wanted but did not move forward with you)
  • Past customers
  • Friends and family

You want to ask people from both your personal and professional life.  You should be the same person in both lives – your brand carries over from work to personal life and vis-versa.

Ask What?

So what do you ask?  No complex algorithmic sentence.  Just send them an email asking, “When you think of me, what are the first 5 – 10 adjectives that come up when you think of me?”  For right brain people, it is a good idea to also ask an additional question, “If I were a _____ (fill in the blank with either dog, car, kitchen appliance, or breakfast cereal), which one would you name for me and why – just a brief description of why.”

Right brain people like using their imagination and creativity.  It doesn’t matter which car, or cereal they choose, what does matter is their description of why.

Now send it to at least 3 people from each of the groups I defined above.  If you can identify 7 in each group even better.  You want at least 20 replies to review to find out your gifts.

What Do the Answers Mean?

Now sit down comfortably and scan over them.  What trends do you see?  Start going through them one group at a time.  Do you see consistency?  What are they saying?  Next, is there consistency between groups?

Ideally, you want to see trends, overlap in what people are saying.  Different words are fine, but is the overall essence coming through the same?

No need to break out into a sweat if answers are all over the place.  This just means your actions are diluting who you are and your talents.  You need to start filtering what you do to be consistent and clear on the unique strengths you offer.

Okay, what if the message coming through is not you?  What if you are projecting a brand that is not truly you.  Again, no panic.  It just means you probably have been responding to what you thought others expected of you and not who you authentically are.

Plan B

If you came away without knowing any more of what your gifts are than when you started, it is time to take an assessment.  I recommend the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test by Tom Rath (formerly called Now, Discover Your Strengths). First buy your own copy of the book by Tom Rath, then inside the back cover you get a code with which you can use to take their StrengthsFinder online survey.

The StrengthsFinder test will identify for you your top 5 areas of strengths pulling from 34 possible areas of strength made famous by Marcus Buckingham.  The strengths are meant to be areas you have natural talent in.  Don’t fret if you don’t see the strengths you thought would be labeled as strong.  Often those we work hard to master are not our natural unique areas of contribution. You can still use these areas you have invested time and energy in to master in how you distinguish yourself.  However, right now the goal is to find your natural gifts.

Also, know that you can reject any results from an assessment.  They are just a test and can not truly dig down to tell all your hidden gems.  Often they give us clues that lead somewhere or they may not lead anywhere.  Either way,  you move forward on your quest for clarifying who you are.

And yes, you do have a brand.

Being Proper is Out – Being Yourself is In!

I grew up in a generation that placed a lot of value in doing things ‘correctly.’  This has made adding in my personality into everything I do awkward the first couple of times.

Are You Being Proper?

Let me give you two examples.  How many voicemail messages start: “You have reached Jane Doe and I have stepped away from the office or on the phone with someone … at the sound of the beep leave your…”

What about a website about page that goes something like: “Jane is an award winning speaker, writer, consultant…  She writes for … and consults with clients like … She graduated from … with two degrees in …  and is a member of the associations …”

Being Proper Does Not Get You Standing Out

But if you are committed to being authentic and getting seen by those who need your help, you must drop the urge to follow the template of being proper and instead, get used to interjecting your uniqueness.

Personality in Your Offerings

I ask my clients, think about what if your competition copied you – they offered all the same services as you, and offered it at the same price as you and graduated from top universities and programs?  Why would people go with you?  How will you attract ideal clients? The reason people are drawn to you is because of YOU, your personality, your brand, your unique approach, your passions.

Think about the elements that are unique to who you are – experiences, skills, maybe you are passionate about music that your audience can relate to.  Or maybe you lighten conversations with humor, have a unique area of interest, or relate your work to your traveling experiences throughout the world.

Online Businesses that Stand Out Because of Brand

Some fun examples of authentic online businesses with lots of uniqueness in their brand, their personality, and passion about what they do are:

 

Mari Smith - upbeat, gracious and friendly Top Social Media GuruMari Smith –  she is an upbeat, smiling social media expert with a soft Canadian/Scottish accent that understands the small business entrepreneur and is passionate about seeing them succeed.  She gives generously of herself and advice often answering posts herself even though she has a team of assistants. There are thousands, probably millions of social media deemed experts but she is in the top 10 lists consistently in the past two years because of her brand, her personality, her generous ability to draw people to her with her upstanding values and compassion for the little guy.

 

Marie Forleo Hip Hop Dancer Now Small Business Guru
Marie Forleo – is an witty dancing machine that inspires women entrepreneurs to go for their big dreams.  She incorporates her background as a hip hop dancer and choreographer for MTV into her videos.  There are other great programs out there but women (and some men) are drawn to her program for its fun dance element, inspirational “I can” attitude, and her sassy voice both on and off screen.

 

 

Danny Iny - down to earth guy that breaks up complex marketing into bite size steps
Danny Iny – is a down to earth, common guy that shares his life openly in his posts and resources on successful online marketing for the beginner.  His draw is in his non-slick, step-by-step approach where you really feel like he is rooting for and believes in you.

 

Who Are You?

Take a moment to ask yourself if you have held back in any way because it has been engrained in you to do things the ‘proper’ way.  If your answer is ‘yes’, time to step out and let the world get to know the brilliant you.

What about you can breathe life and sparkle into your website about page, blog posts, marketing pieces, voicemail and more?  Is it some fun personality quirk like a witty humor, southern belle charm, or zippy one-liners that catch people off guard?

It could be a passion for your dogs, eating chocolate (that’s me), or obsession with magic.  Find at least one and maybe two or three unique characteristics of you that are personal but not private that you are willing to share with the world so they get to know you which leads to liking you.  It can be as simple as taking the high-road consistently, a serious Scrabble player, compassion for children everywhere,  or celebration of being a present day geek.

Goal All Along

The aim here is to be genuine in attracting people to you so they follow you.  Over time they will get to know, like and trust you.  Once someone knows-likes-trusts you, then they are ready to buy from you.

This is part of the process of building a community, attracting people that believe in what you do, building a lasting relationship with people that are in harmony with you.

This coming week as you go throughout all your daily activities – let your personality shine through loud and clear to attract more clients.