Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

March 4, 2021

Personal Branding Masterclass 2021

People don’t care who you are or what you know, until they know that you care about who they are, and what they want. Building a Personal Brand is actually a form of service. It is a calling to live deliberately, and intentionally so that others may safely come to rely on you, trust you, and want to connect with you; want to learn from you, do business with you…

So what is your personal brand as it stands today? When asking yourself this question it’s important to have a searching and open mind. Did you know that Forbes did a study that revealed only 15% of people with a personal brand were correct about what that brand is?

Because your brand isn’t what you think and feel, it’s what other people think and feel about you. It’s all about them. So if you want a strong personal brand in 2021 that is primed to become an Inspiration to Millions, here are the Four Corners for Building a Personal Brand.

Number One: Live By Your Core Values

What are your core values for your personal brand? Your core values should be just three or four words that represent what you most want to contribute to the lives of other people. Your core values should align with the way you want to make people feel. In this fast-paced digital world, we human beings aren’t as likely to remember exactly what a person does or says, but we do keenly and acutely remember how a person makes us feel. Do you want people to feel welcomed? Then a core value of yours is being warm, inviting. Do you want people to feel excited? Then a core value of yours is enthusiasm. Sit down and do some soul-searching on this one! It’s the foundation upon which you will build your personal brand. I like to think of Fred Rogers when I think of the ultimate embodiment of a personal brand. They even made a movie relaying a true story about a journalist with a reputation for being rather cynical towards his subjects, becoming completely enthralled with meeting Fred Rogers and baffled by not being able to scrutinize his character from his personal brand in even the slightest regard. “He’s the kindest person I’ve ever met,” the journalist utters in a daze of confusion as he sits on the edge of his bed, talking to his wife. “REALLY?!” His wife squeals with all the delight of her childhood heart.

Name your core values, and then live into them passionately, deliberately, and consistently. Don’t let anyone sway you, gode you, provoke you into breaking your own code of honor, because consistently inspiring the emotions that you core values bestow upon others, is what will cement your reputation in the hearts and minds of others. 

Number Two: Tell Your Story

Nobody is perfect, right? Even Kim Kardashian, who’s personal brand basically eliminated the role of a supermodel as we know it, needed to let people into her not-always perfect life to keep her brand relevant and her fans connected. The truth about the image of perfection, is that while some may be drawn in by it initially, people actually don’t trust perfect. And they don’t really like the way it makes them feel, either. Having a strong personal brand in 2021 isn’t about perfection. It’s about authenticity, accountability, and consistency. 

We all have our own hero’s journey, our own struggles, our own heartbreaks, our own victories, and our own hard lessons we had to learn to get where we are today. Everyone has their own hero’s journey, and telling your story transparently and often, is the magic ingredient for creating a connection with others, and helping people persevere through their own struggles, obstacles, and setbacks. 

Your story is your testimony, and the testimony of others gives us strength, allows us to reflect on our shortcomings without beating ourselves, and helps us overcome our own challenges. We are encouraged, enlightened, and empowered with the testimony of others. 

Another important reason to tell your story honestly and often is because everyone has their own story, but no one has your EXACT story. It is your story that sets you apart in the hearts and minds of others. It is that which is truly unique, outstanding, and inimitable about you. There may be many others looking to build their personal brand within your industry, and they may have a lot of similar abilities to you, but they will never have your story. Your story is what sets you apart from all the rest. It is the living proof that you are who you say you are. So tell it true, and tell it often. And if you aren’t sure what your story is, it’s time you sit down and get to writing. Start at the beginning, don’t censor yourself, and don’t worry about anyone ever reading it. This will be for you to map out your hero’s journey. Find your testimony. You have one. We all do. And if you’d like for me to make an episode about how to map out your own hero’s journey, and transform it into a testimony that can become an Inspiration to Millions, I would be happy to do that for you. Just comment with #HerosJourney, and will get right on it, because it really is imperative for building your brand. 

Number Three: Collect and Share Social Proof

The reviews of your customers, the testimonials of your students, the referrals of your clients, all of these things are like gold to your personal brand. Inspire the kind of response you wish to see in people, and continuously amass their recommendations, endorsements, confirmations, and authentications. As a personal brand, having these things readily available, and shareable are absolutely crucial for building a strong personal brand in today’s highly connected, ultra-discerning marketplace. Whatever business you are in, Brand Loyalty is your business plan, so keep your brand loyalists close to you, and their words of confirmation and enthusiastic endorsement will inspire others to align themselves with your personal brand too. Word-of-mouth advertising is 50X more effective than any form of self-promotion.

Number Four: Be Clear and Consistent 

Everything about your personal brand will always come back to your core values, and so when we talk about being clear and consistent, it’s all about knowing who you are, what you stand for, and what you will never stand for. You know there are people who have been in business for years, who will still fumble to state clearly and cleanly what it is their business is for! Be clear about what you do for others, and be able to say in one sweet sentence, the value your business is bringing into people’s lives. When people ask you what you do for a living, imagine they are asking you what you do to contribute to the lives of others. Because that is what people really care about. 

Find a rhythm that works for you, and stick with it so that people can come to rely on you. Remember if your brand starts to feel a little repetitive to you, that means you are doing it right! Consistency is King (or Queen!) 

I want to say something about consistency that’s on a more personal note, because if we’re all being honest we can think of times where our behavior or our choices haven’t always matched the core values we are now striving to live into daily. It’s important to look closely at those moments, not to shame ourselves, but to take inventory, and learn about ourselves. Learn what triggers us to act out of character, and begin to consider those situations our own personal opportunities to fortify our personal brands in the eyes of our community. It’s in the moments when many may feel tempted to set aside their core values, that a Personal Brand has the opportunity to showcase their authenticity, accountability and consistency. 

So now you have the Four Corners for building a strong personal brand in 2021, Live By Your Core Values, Tell Your Story, Collect and Share Social Proof, and Be Clear and Consistent. I want to encourage you to name your core values, write them down and make sure they are inspired directly by how you want to make people feel, because that is what will ultimately determine your Personal Brand. And if you’re feeling REALLY brave, and I know you are— round up your truth-tellers and ask them flat out what they think your personal brand is about. And ask them how your personal brand makes them feel. Gather these answers (remember they are gold! Even if they aren’t what you thought or hoped they’d be) Because therein lies everything you need to know about building a personal brand in 2021 that will strong enough to become an Inspiration to Millions

Thank you so much for joining me today! If you enjoyed this episode make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the bell so you don’t miss a single thing! I release new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday so you can treat it as your masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions!