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Managing Brand YOU: Seven Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self by Ira Blumenthal, Jerry S. Wilson

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CHAPTER 3
WHAT DO I WANT TO STAND FOR?
STEP THREE: DETERMINE YOUR BRAND
YOU IDENTITY AND ESSENCE
“The value of identity, of course, is that so often with it comes
purpose.
—RICHARD R. GRANT
AS BRAND IMAGE REFERS to the current perception of
your personal brand, think of brand identity as what you would like
your personal brand to stand for in the future. Visualizing your
desired Brand YOU identity requires a clear picture of your aspira-
tions, strengths, and core values. Consistent with Grant’s quote
above, your personal identity can be a key component of unlock-
ing your personal passion and inner drive. Or, in terms of per-
sonal branding, each of us can define and craft a vision of exactly
what we want to stand for. That vision is our brand identity.
This vision of your future image will lead to your personal
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Managing Brand YOU
positioning plan. Clarifying your unique identity is the starting
point to developing that brand you would like to become. While
being true to yourself, you will envision what you want to repre-
sent, based on the values and principles that are such an impor-
tant part of your life. For example, rather than try to become your
job at work, what if you tried to find the job that better matched
your inner self? In other words, you will craft a self-description
and then match it to a job description. That may seem backwards
in accordance with the way things have typically been done, but
it’s quite logical. And the likelihood of happiness and success cer-
tainly improves when you know yourself before you choose your
career path.
BUILDING YOUR OWN IDENTITY
You have great strengths that will help you grow to become all
you should and could be. After all, everyone’s a work-in-progress.
With that in mind, you can use your strengths as a conduit to
personal fulfillment. These strengths are your personal equities,
and they can be leveraged and transferred to different areas of
professional development, to community service, and to per-
sonal satisfaction. How often have you been told to eliminate
your weaknesses? While it is important to seek daily improve-
ment, what if you instead took your strong points and put them
to even greater use? In other words, why not aggressively and en-
ergetically focus on using your strong points, core competencies,
and powerful assets to develop awesome, powerful, unique abil-
ities and competencies? This type of thinking can unleash a pow-
erful force for personal growth.
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What Do I Want to Stand For?
Building your own identity is grounded on the
proposition that you have great strengths and that you
are not yet all you should and could be.
In the business world, brand equity represents the value associ-
ated with a brand and is the sum of many building blocks that con-
tribute to its strength. This equity reflects the economic evaluation
of a brand in the marketplace or, in the case of personal branding,
the recognized summation of your strengths and benefits. While
brand equity can be quantified, or given a monetary value, for a cor-
porate or product brand, that is less relevant when applied to a per-
son. However, understanding the power of personal equity is an
important step in building your brand identity. Brand equity is
made up of many intangibles; the higher the brand equity, the
more competitive advantage a brand will have in the marketplace.
As the brand image and identity grow, generally speaking the brand
equity also grows. A healthy brand identity contributes to strong
brand equity, and vice versa. So, what equities do you have that can
become an integral part of the identity you will create? Let’s look at
some examples.
The Coca-Cola Brand Identity
As a corporate example, The Coca-Cola Company has long been
recognized as an organization with significant brand equity with
over four hundred brands available in virtually every nook and
cranny of the world. The flagship brand Coca-Cola soft drink has
stood the test of time—over 120 years. In fact, Coca-Cola alone is
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