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Give and Take: Establishing Brand Value

Laura Bernstein

While most of us are familiar with corporate and nonprofit brands, in recent years more weight has been put on the value of establishing a personal brand. Similar to a company’s brand evokes thoughts and feelings in our minds, our personal brand creates an image in the minds of others.

This summer, our CEO Jen Prosek discussed the power of personal branding with students from The Hope Program, a nonprofit empowering those living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Hope students are actively looking for a new career, so their personal brand is a key component to standing out from the crowd of applicants. Building a personal brand can help anyone become more memorable.

Here are three essential components to personal brand building that the students from The Hope Program took away:

  1. Control Your Story

Your reputation is what others say about you. While this can be influenced, it can’t be controlled. On the other hand, your personal brand is what you say about yourself. This is controllable and can be honed to best serve you. Be aware of the messages you’re putting out about yourself across all channels and take stock of whether they fit your personal brand.

  1. Know Your Word Cloud

If you were to describe yourself in five words, what would those words be? What would they say about you? Think of the characteristics that best describe what you want your personal brand to be. Envision a word cloud of attributes that define you and then let those words give direction to your actions.

  1. Tell Signature Stories

According to research from Stanford University, a story is 22 times more effective than data alone. This means, in order to be memorable, we need to connect the dots about who we are through storytelling. Develop a handful of signature stories that capture your personal brand. Leverage these stories to help you achieve your goals.

Remember, you are in charge of your personal brand. Don’t let someone else tell the story of you. 

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