Branding Bootcamp Week 2: Do Your Insides Match Your Outsides?

( — Hoo-a! Last week, we talked about what a brand is and why you need one. I asked a question worthy of a branding drill sergeant – who do you think you are? Now that you’ve put some thought into your personal identity, I’m going to help you flesh out that vision into an unforgettable personal brand.

What’s Inside

You’ll notice that when talking about branding, I initially focused more on what’s inside than what you’re projecting on the outside. Today, that’s going to change. Superficial? Maybe. But the point of personal branding is to project some of the fabulosity within onto your external image. Your personal brand should reflect the kinds of values, influences, inspirations, and beliefs you identified when you asked yourself who you are.

Now. Do your insides match your outsides? We all know (or perhaps are) the person who is vivacious, outrageous, gorgeous, and daring…and hides behind boring clothing or the padding of weight gain. The writer whose written communications don’t reflect her education or ability. The secret artist who can’t express himself through dress or action.

Today I’m going to challenge you to take what’s inside outwards.

The Little Green Dress

gone with the wind scarlett o'hara vivien leigh curtains drapesLet me give you an example. I love Margaret Mitchell’s perennial soap opera Gone With The Wind, and the feisty Scarlett O’Hara is the perfect example of taking what’s inside out. Scarlett is a spoiled Southern princess whose life is destroyed by the Civil War. When the war destroys her family and drives her to near starvation, she realizes that she can’t just rely on coquetry and charm…she needs $300 (an astronomical sum) to pay taxes on the family estate.

Armed with a dress made of her mother’s green velvet curtains, she heads to Atlanta, flags raised and ready for battle, with the intention of seducing the roguish Rhett Butler and getting the cash. Scarlett’s iconic green dress is the perfect example of insides matching outsides. It’s flirtatious and beautiful, just like her. But it’s also improvised from a household fabric and represents her sheer desperation and moral downfall. While desperation and moral downfall isn’t quite the look we’re going for here, that green dress is a great example of personal branding that really reflects what’s within.

Simply put, you need a signature to reflect your personal brand.

Now that you know who you are (!) it’s time to brainstorm. What’s your signature? Remember, a signature can be anything from a penchant for handwritten notes to a fabulous “uniform” of the perfect jeans, scarf, and earrings. It can mean punctuating your professional conversations with a million-watt smile or inviting your colleagues to ski or hike instead of grab coffee.

This week’s assignment: reflect on how your external self can reflect the values within. Jot down some ideas…no matter how daring or random. Next week I’ll show you how to start implementing them as part of your fabulous personal brand.

– Erin Blakemore

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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