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Personal Branding - It's not the hat you wear

Today I want to continue the conversation about Personal Branding. In the first Personal Branding blog - I was talking about the reality that you are communicating a personal brand, whether it is intentional or not. I believe this is the age of personal branding. In my second Personal Branding blog I touch on the subject of what do you have to work with in developing your brand. Today I want to talk about personal branding beyond the hats we wear.

A dear friend of mine, Carole, has a hat collection, and so do I, and these are literally collections of hats. Mine are mostly cowboy hats and I wear them when I am working and doing photography. Hers are all different and we are going to do a photo shoot with her hats. She says she looks and feels completely different depending on which hat she wears. Versatility is great, and being able to shift from the “mom” hat to the “date night” hat to the “boardroom” hat is an important thing to know how to do and to understand.

But, your personal brand goes beyond the outer appearance and hinges on who you are underneath the hats. “Who are you?” and “How are you?” Are much more important questions than “What are you?” I am many different things, but underneath it all, I’m still me – GG, or Ginger, or Mom.

My core value that I want to communicate is “Hurray for the individual!”

Each of us brings our uniqueness to the world. I love finding that special thing that makes you unique when working on a personal brand. Successful personal branding intentionally highlights that aspect in a way people can relate and appreciate who you are. Carole is one of these multi-faceted unique people. She was born in France, has tons of siblings in the U.S. and France. She sells items on ebay. She shops herself and each item is personally selected. She has a large international customer base, and we are going to work on her personal brand.

Carole’s intention for her personal brand is to open a website based store ~ to migrate her success on ebay to establish her own independent storefront. Her ebay store is called “Everything Now and Then” and we will want to leverage that store name as part of the new storefront to ensure we keep her existing customers. Listening to what she is telling me, and what I see when she communicates is that Carole personally chooses these pieces – “Everything Now and Then” to her means this is a combination of antique, vintage, new and unique items. Interesting - Carole is personally a combination of all these things, although she probably would not appreciate being called an antique!

Carole’s hat boxes are very full. (Sassy, Serious, Fun, Somber, Silly, Lovely, etc.) But, while her appearance may change underneath she is still the same person inside. She has this very large globally extended family and she communicates with them all. She is a great friend and has many relationships that span decades, but she readily incorporates new acquaintances and friends into her friend-circle. Professionally Carole worked as a personal assistant for years, dedicating her time and energy to help other’s succeed. This outward focus and inward openness are at the core of Carole’s values.

For Carole’s personal brand I think she should promote the sunshine within her. She lights up and provides the radiant energy and warmth to help those around her to help them with the growth of their pursuits. I will blog about the method I’m using to modify Carole’s personal brand into her commercial brand. She uses this same energy to find items for individuals to collect and grow their personal collections. I will be working with her over the next few months to design, build and launch her storefront. How wonderful to know first who you are and then work around that premise to build your occupation and brand.

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