Your image and your personality are two sides of the same coin. Huh?
Just think of your favorite corporate brand. What do you like about them? Why do you trust them?
Without knowing which brand you have in mind, my guess would be that it’s a brand that is in line with what you personally value or believe in. The way that you recognize this ‘match’ is that you somewhat identify with the company’s behavior, their communication, and their design.
Their brand is not an empty shell and it’s not superficial. It’s a company with a vivid personality. They’re authentic and real, and they practice what they preach. That’s why you trust them.
Let me tell you, the same goes for personal brands.
Many people tap into the pitfall of working on their personal brands at a fairly superficial level. Is my profile picture ‘professional’ enough? How can I tweak my current job title to make it sound more important? Do I need to post more frequently?
But it’s really not about that perfect-looking LinkedIn profile or polished CV. Instead, it’s about real people who have something to say. So, the opportunity is to look at things holistically and work on both sides of the branding model: Consider both, how you want to be perceived by others (image), and who you really are (identity).
How do you communicate, act, and present yourself on a daily basis? Online and offline. That’s essentially what shapes your image. And it’s also how you can develop a meaningful and authentic personal brand.
Many people find it challenging to connect their personal and professional selves, as they encounter artificial constraints, societal or self-imposed. Just think of the last time when your inner voice told yourself to be ‘more professional’.
Taking aside those protecting yet limiting beliefs, there is so much to gain from integrating your personal and professional self - for you and for others.
By working on both sides of the branding model, you will identify areas of your personal brand that are already reflected in what you’re doing today - be it in your personal or professional lives. Maybe you’re an avid writer or you’re a passionate cook, but you haven’t considered that to be a part of your personal (professional) brand yet. Maybe you deeply care about a certain cause due to a life-changing experience but have been hesitant about sharing it with others.
In my opinion, there is a great opportunity of turning that conflict into valuable creative tension. It requires to disrupt old thinking patterns, face our fears, and make ourselves vulnerable. But it also allows us to organically build a brand that reflects who we are and what’s important to us.
Something that inspires others. A brand that we can own and be proud of.