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6 Steps To Creative Personal Branding

6 Steps To Creative Personal Branding

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We are always thinking about our next professional step. Personal and professional growth is a basic human need – it makes life so exciting. But few of us have a clear method to do so. Most of us use the trial and error version. Not knowing where you end up can be very exciting, but it’s not always fulfilling. It can leave us with a feeling of unused potential, and without a link between our strategy and our personality.

Related: There’s No ‘I’ In Personal Brand

We all know at least one teacher who shouldn’t be a teacher because he doesn’t have patience; one doctor without empathy, one sales person without communication skills, and one HR person without people skills.

After having worked with more than 1,800 participants from more than 60 countries in my workshops, I have learned that most professionals are not taking enough time to position themselves and underestimate Aristotle’s thinking in boxes. We tend to turn our back on our own big ideas that spring out of our personality, but those are vital. An unbiased picture of our faults and virtues is the key to clearly define how we add value, socially and economically. This picture is the link between strategy and personality.

Here is a framework for an effective change process for your professional positioning strategy:

Take Some Time

To rethink and redraft you professional vision and objectives, you need around three months. This is the minimum time you should invest in the bellow mentioned process. It is also the fun part where you can be as creative as possible. To change from Banking to Innovation, Sales to Marketing, or working in a company to start-up your own company, you will need this time. (And an experienced coach to sparring you through the process.)

It will take you around a year to support your desired new professional positioning with new thinking (e.g. new languages) and working methods (e.g. 3D production processes) as part of your personality. If anything, it will be the minimum duration time of most Master courses.

It will take you between three to five years to change the perception of your professional positioning in the eyes of others. This is about branding, and branding is about trust. Creating trust is a primary KPI and needs to be done by proof of concept, through new and effective best cases that you develop.

6 Steps To Creative Personal Branding

The great thing is that the process of creative personal branding allows you to create and draft one or more visual prototypes of your desired professional positioning. Here are the most relevant steps one has to take:

1. Reflect

What the heck is going on? What type of industry do I want to be in? Research always comes before development. Gain new insights about the external environment and get a strong focus on personal assessment. Only few of us detect what stands between us and success. You need to know your constraints to be creatively effective.

2. Reframe

Where do new professional and personal insights match and offer new opportunities? An “insight” is a clear and sudden understanding in a very complex situation. The quality of your analytical thinking will let you find new insights in markets and opportunities, but the quality of your emotional thinking will let you find new insights into your personality.

3. Create

After research, insights, and a new vision comes development, the concrete and clearly defined action plan. Here comes design thinking into the game. Designers develop fast and simple prototypes to gain real feedback and optimize on the way (a proven way to increase speed to market and study viability and feasibility).

4. Grow

The best thing of all is that, while we are doing this, we keep growing especially on a personal level. This new professional vision is the key driver of human development. After all, this is what gets us so excited.

5. Differentiate

As long as you understand Aristotle’s system of thinking in boxes, you understand that clearly defined positioning helps peers to see a certain professional difference. This will take time and persistence. Professional substance and proofs are the keys to success, and the humble but authentic communication is decisive and helps you to gain new clients and collaborators. Keep in mind that the product is the key.

6. Go

Thinking without doing doesn’t make any sense.

Now, you invested three months and little resources in developing and prototyping a new professional scenario. You gained new insights in volatile and fast-changing markets, as well as into yourself. You now have a clear action plan and you know what you need to change, learn, or add to your personality to make your product and services worth your clients money. This is creative personal branding – your strategy springs out of your personality.

Do this process, evaluate where you are, and enjoy it. You will find yourself driven by priorities. You will also have stress in your life, but positive stress. Bear in mind that hyperactivity, super-busyness, and just “more” are not goals. Productivity driven by passion is a goal. If you have an idea now, go for it.

Don’t waste any time. There is no such thing as “the right time.”Some day is today. Start now. And above all, enjoy!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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Jürgen Salenbacher Jürgen Salenbacher is the Academic Director of the Design University IED Barcelona whose Creative Personal Branding workshops are taught internationally.