Last Thursday I had the pleasure of being one of the guest speakers at the York University New College Council 2nd Annual Business Conference.  The goal of the conference was to have business owners and professionals share their career experience for the future graduates taking business at York. 

The keynote speaker was Bobby Umar from Raeallan who helped teach the students practical tactics for networking.  His talk was both funny, practical, and full of useful information that the students not only could apply but were forced to practice throughout the event. 

The most inspiring part of his talk was when he discussed branding.  First he helped the students understand that a brand is a promise to deliver “x”, it’s your reputation in the marketplace.  We looked at some of the biggest brands in the world and used them as a model to see the  importance and value of a strong brand in business.  He then went on to show that with the advent of social media it is becoming more and more critical for individuals to develop a personal brand. 

What is a Personal Brand

A personal brand is what you promise to deliver to everyone.  It’s your reputation that you carry with you.  Most people have different things that they offer to different groups of people.  You might deliver love to your friends and family, but not your co-workers.  You might be trustworthy to your suppliers but lie to your clients.  A personal brand is discovering the common elements that you want to consistently and consciously deliver. 

Once you understand this concept you realize that whether you like it or not you have a personal brand.  Your personality and both positive and negative character traits are how people know you.  The goal is to take ownership of your personal brand and to create the brand that you want to be known for. 

Developing Your Own Personal Brand

To develop your own personal brand requires three steps:

1. Become aware of the need to develop your personal brand and the benefits you will get when you have a positive personal brand.  (hopefully this blog post has helped you with this)

2. Create a list by simply taking a piece of paper, on one side answer the question what are the positive values and character traits that I would like to be known for.  Try to get a list between 3-12.  On the other side of the page write a list answering the question what are the negative values and character traits that I may display on occasion but never want to be known for.   This second list may be a little tougher but deep down we all know what areas we need to work on.

3. Establish an action plan by taking your lists and creating practical ways that you can improve your positive character traits and remove your negative ones.

With these three steps complete you should be able to take the essence of your personal brand and write it down into 1-2 sentences.  These sentences should contain only the positive aspects of what you would like to promise to deliver to everyone. 

By reviewing your written personal brand on a regular basis and using it as a tool when you make decisions you will find that living your personal brand will not only improve your life but help make you an orange.

Max Kalles’ Personal Brand

The following is my first attempt at creating a personal brand that I would like to be known for.  I will continue to work on it over time to ensure that it truly represents who I am.

To be passionate about life, continuously learning, and to always focus on what I can give to others.