Anyone can be an expert on personal branding. We know ourselves well, having lived with ourselves every single day. The reason we brand ourselves is simple – we want to stand out. “Personal image” and personal brand” are often interchanged. Personal image is the public’s perception of you, whether or not you do anything to alter your image. Your personal brand, on the other hand, is how you want people to perceive you. It is about reinventing your current image and transforming it to your own personal brand. If you are successful with your branding efforts, what people see will be synonymous to what you consciously and deliberately project as your personal brand. So, how to build your authentic personal brand?
You have a distinct advantage that companies do not. You have the ability to get very up-close and personal while companies strive to make their brand look more personal so that they can establish a relationship with their customers. This is the reason why celebrity endorsers, company spokespersons, and brand ambassadors are a six-figure commodity – companies piggyback on their personal image.
Building Your Personal Brand Through An Elevator Pitch
You are the perfect endorser, spokesperson and ambassador to represent your brand. The 60-second “elevator pitch” should be at the top of your playbook. This is especially useful nowadays where many first meetings and interviews are happening online. From an etiquette standpoint, refrain from doing small talks. The idea of an “elevator pitch” is to have a personal brand statement that captivates your audience in a few words. It is a simple exercise to understand yourself better and decide what you want to project to the world.
Parts of an Elevator Pitch
First 30 seconds
In the first 30 seconds of the pitch, talk about the following:
- the first 10 seconds is for talking about who you are
- 10 seconds about what you do
- and the last 10 seconds is about why you do it.
Who you are is simple – you could be a chef, an artist, an engineer or a business owner. What you do is more specific and goes deeper into your interests, talents, and abilities. Why you do it breathes life to your personal brand statement. No two people will have the same answers because we all have different sets of experiences, beliefs and aspirations.
Traditional personal branding stresses on self-promotion and ends on the 30-second mark. The result is an artificial egocentric image. If your personal brand is all about you, no one is going to care. Now, here is the secret to building your authentic personal brand statement. Your personal brand is never about you. Your personal brand needs to answer the question: Why.
Last 30 seconds
Should they care? That accounts for the last 30 seconds of your pitch.To help you arrive at a strong statement, let’s break it down:
- Who do you want to appeal to? Your personal brand is all about them. If you don’t identify your audience, your personal brand statement will lack focus. The more clear and specific you are, the more effective your statement will be.
- How can you help them? Now that you have identified your audience, it’s important to find out what they want and what you can do that will benefit them. Identify their problem and other possible solutions.
- What makes you different? Surely, you are not the only person in the world that holds the key to solving their problem.
- Why does it have to be you? This is the capstone of your personal brand statement. For this part, it’s okay to talk about you. Give a unique and irresistible proposition. This is the right time to showcase your personality, past successes and innovations! This is the stuff that icons are made of.
Your Authentic Personal Brand Statement
I am [who you are, what you do and why you do it]. I help [target audience] solve or address [their problem or need] by [your unique proposition].
When you brand yourself using this approach, your personal brand statement becomes YOU – organic, authentic and holistic. Your image will be strong, distinct, relevant, meaningful, and memorable. Suddenly, outside competition disappears and all you need to compose with is yourself – or your best selves.
Written by Pauli Antoine, owner and founder of Etiquette de Manille and Red Archon. As an etiquette and protocol trainer, she addresses important areas on image and impressions, etiquette and customer relations skills, all vital to building every company’s most important asset – people.
Updated version with permission from Ms. Pauli Antoine. First published in F&B World Magazine, August-September 2012 issue.