Spice up your life : Personal branding – The legacy of you

I recall one of the best nuggets given to me, something I return to and think of often.  “When you aren’t in the room, how do you want to be remembered?” It encouraged me to think about me, and whom I wanted to be.  This thought process, became my personal branding exercise, but I didn’t know that at the time.  I have never worked in marketing, I wasn’t as interested in personal development as I am now, social media wasn’t as advanced; values weren’t talked about, and podcasts were unheard of.

Thinking about this again recently encouraged me to think back to times before social media, back to celebrities that gave off a particular persona.  Why did boy bands such as Boyzone have an angelic reputation, yet Five were rebellious and cheeky?  Madonna was mysterious and sent sexual vibes and Seal was also mysterious, yet calm; controversial artists such as 2Pac and his amazing success whilst sharing social issues, representing equality.  This is personal branding, with the latter firmly standing by his values.

The band that successfully tapped into personal branding and in fact used it in their own marketing and PR, creating girl power, was the Spice Girls.  Girls globally wanted to be Sporty, Baby, Scary, Posh or Ginger – the spokesperson for girl power and individuality.  Successful female artists today, thank the Spice Girls for giving them that strength and encouragement to get out there and just be.  The first thing that comes to mind when I see the Union Jack is the Spice Girls.

This is behaviour, becoming reputation, becoming branding.

Branding used to be a ‘business thing’, and over time it has evolved to companies creating values, and powerful mission statements.  Creating a successful Employer Value Proposition (EVP) captures the most sought-after employees.  Branding is everything.

Social media influencers share the best bits of being human, working towards a greater purpose, representing all lifestyles.  Many have been challenged on their comments and behaviours, and Joe-Public has high expectations of them.  We want role models; we want people that bring out the best in us.  Branding really is everything.

Whether we want it or not, we have a personal brand.  Do I portray and demonstrate the person I want to be?

Personal branding is a great way to create a positive representation of your skills, interests, and career goals – www.reed.co.uk

How do you want other people to see you? How do you represent this person that you want to be?  People do so much that contributes to their legacy, and don’t realise.  A good friend of mine always turns up 30 to 45 minutes late.  Every single time.  We adore him, and he is a great person to be with, but it has reached the point that we lie about the meeting time.  His legacy?  Lateness!

Responsibility is one of the pre-determiners of successful outcomes.  The people who perform best respond to the circumstances, no matter what they are, to drive the best outcomes or opportunities.  Jamil Qureshi (a speaker & psychologist) believes that attitude is more important than intelligence or facts. 

“I’d rather have ‘I will’ than IQ.  High technical expertise is no longer as valuable as it used to be because we can ‘Google’ things.  It’s not what you know which is important, it is how you think about what you know, and how you bring it to life with your character and personality”- Jamil Qureshi

How can you demonstrate your ‘I will’?  What values do you want to live by?

As a manager I always want the team I work with to be themselves, to embrace feeling uncomfortable, to be challenged and to be the best version of themselves.  Be accountable, be responsible for your choices.  Mistakes and failure are contributors to success, allow things to go wrong and own it. 

Importantly, as more people are working from home; you want to be recognised in the best light even when your manager isn’t looking at you, right?  CS Lewis (the author of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) said, “integrity is doing the right thing even when no-one is watching”.  If your boss is challenged by another about you and your workmanship, you want them to say, “I trust them implicitly”.  How do you ensure that your vibe is on-point? 

  1. Think about what matters to you, what are you passionate about? 
  2. Write this down and consider your behaviour and demonstrating your values.
  3. Write that down as well
  4. Think about things you can do to support your values…. Perhaps listening more, seeing everything through, being more patient, getting to meetings early, or maybe just showing up.
  5. And then don’t talk about it – do it.  Again, and again.

Steven Bartlett recently spoke in his podcast (The Diary of a CEO), about picking up on other people’s values via social media and using them as our own. Create your own values, your own truths and live by them.

Living by your own brand is more than pleasing people and is more than coming across as a positive individual.   It is thinking about what matters most to you and living by it.  There are moments when it is a challenge to stand by your own beliefs.  What if you are talking to someone you respect, or your employer?  You don’t like confrontation but want to be true to yourself.  As I said earlier, determining the values we want to live by should be a goal, and perhaps having a conversation that takes us out of our comfort zone is necessary, resulting in people seeing our loyalty to the cause.

The Spice Girls famously fired their manager in 1997 because they wanted to manage themselves.  That same year, Mel B told a photographer where to go because he wanted more cleavage.  Whether it is feminism, girl power or generally spicing up your life, be true to you and live honestly within your own brand.  You’ll be respected for it, and I think you might just like it.

Hype, demand and legacy.  What do you leave behind?

Words by Abigail Tester, People and Culture Lead, The Fitting Room

2 years ago