Skip to main content

Over the last several weeks I’ve been preparing for a speech I was asked to give to Slalom’s Women’s Leadership group on personal branding. I had an AHA moment as I was preparing this speech and found myself so surprised with how much your brand and your purpose have in common.  

Your brand AND your purpose are the intersections of your skills, talents, and passions. In the middle lies your unique brand…your unique purpose.

My journey to develop my personal brand started last year while I was going through a 52-week leadership development program at Stagen Leadership Academy.  I didn’t start the program with this in mind.  In retrospect, I had no idea this is where I would end up.

During the speech, I shared some very deep, personal stories about my own vulnerable journey of being a working woman, a working mother, and now a woman entrepreneur.  The stories I shared are an important part of my personal brand and my purpose.

  • My skill is marketing.
  • My talent is my honesty and realness in the way I blend and talk about my children and family, relationships and profession. (provided by my professional coach because it’s hard to talk about what your good at)
  • My passion is being a voice for women and coaching them to understand that they can have it all.  If they want it bad enough.

It is not easy being a working woman, mother or mompreneur. It’s the hardest job I have. I work at this every day. I want to improve daily and share my journey with others so we can all learn from each other and stop being so hard on ourselves.  I have a feeling we all have shameful stories. We ALL carry guilt. Let’s get honest with it and share that guilt with each other so we can grow and push through the hard times.

That is what my personal brand is about.  And I’m in a unique position to speak about it because of my past.  I can speak as a daughter of an entrepreneur – as a young working woman – as a working mother  – and now as a mompreneur.

I closed the speech with my 10 “in the trenches” tips on how to develop your personal brand:

 

1.) Understand your core values.

It’s important to have a clear picture of your guiding values. This will help you to identify not only the most important things to spend your time on, but also what doesn’t align with your values. Use your values and priorities as a compass that guides both your actions and your decision-making process. This will ensure you stay on track with what’s most important to you.

 

2.) Be true to you.

If your heart isn’t in it, you have not found your superpower.  Don’t let others box you into their idea of what they think you should be. Be you and lean into your inner voice. Trust that in living true to yourself, you will attract people that support you.

 

3.) Give to receive.

Add value wherever you can.  Talk with people in the industry about what you know. Don’t hesitate to make people around you smarter. People remember how you make them feel first and foremost. It’s only by giving that you will receive more than what you have.

 

4.) Focus on your superpower.

Focus on the one thing you’re genuinely great at, and build your brand around that.  Know that your greatest weakness can also be your greatest superpower. Trust me, when you get it right – the energy around it is magnetic.

 

5.) Be consistent.

Do not become different versions of yourself depending on the circumstance or people.  The best personal brands are authentic and consistent.

 

6.)  Know your audience.

This is marketing 101:  You can’t impact someone if you don’t know who you are trying to impact.  What are their pains? How can you help them? This is about giving to them so you know exactly who they are and what they need.

 

7.) Amplify.

It’s not enough to learn it; you have to teach it and share your knowledge by helping others. Do this through videos, social media, and writing both online and offline. This is where you prove you know your stuff and gain exposure from doing so.

 

8.) Build trust.

Buying into anything is an emotional decision built on trust. Brands are designed to build trust.  Remember it takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. Hold trust tightly.

 

9.) Develop a growth mindset.

Once you’ve identified your uniqueness and strengths…perfect them. Learn all that you can and become an expert in that area. You can never stop learning. Read, absorb, teach, and then repeat. Failure is part of this game. Remember that there are amazing things on the other side of fear and failure. It’s hard to beat someone that never gives up.

 

10.)  Use your past to build your future.

There is a Maya Angelou quote I love that speaks directly to this 10th tip.  “You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.”

In my own experience, finding your brand is not the hard work!  Building it and growing it is where it got hard and messy for me, so here are a few more learnings I’ve found from being in the “messy middle” of being called to do something but having so many ways I could bring it life

Work on your mindset.  Don’t let anything hold you back.  It’s not easy and I’ve found myself doubting myself on several occasions.  Learn how to fight through your head trash and self talk is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.  You are going to have to tell yourself what to think many many times.

Set BHAGS:  Big.Hairy.Audacious.Goals for those of you that don’t know my favorite acronym.  Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Stretch yourself because that’s when you learn the most!

Find great mentors:  This one has surprised me a little.  I was always focused on mentorship but I realized you can have mentors for so many different aspects of the journey.  If I need to learn something, I find a mentor to guide me through their own learnings. I have several mentors.

Let go:  Triple Type A me has a hard time with this one. Create, explore and trust the processes even when it seems unclear and vulnerable.  And STOP being so hard on yourself.

Take care of you: Self-care is about giving the world the best you NOT what’s left of you.

Learn to say no:  Sometimes you have to say no to something to say yes to something more important to you.  I am constantly balancing work and family and saying no to things so I can say yes to my family or yes to my team.  We can’t do it all. It’s OK. But find ways to say yes to what’s most important to you.

I’ll leave you with my parting quote I shared with the women at the event.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Click here to watch my full speech on YouTube.

If you want to get involved in my journey, provide feedback (I. Love. Feedback.), if you have an opportunity you’d like to discuss, or just want to grab a cup of coffee, let’s get in touch.

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager is a recognized B2B marketing strategist and the President of Leadit Marketing. At Leadit, she is responsible for partnerships, business development and the strategic direction of the company. A marketing leader with 25 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed integrated marketing strategy from marketing automation to end-to-end marketing operations. Follow her on LinkedIn (@ShannonPrager) for her take on the latest and greatest in marketing.