Put Your Personal Brand into Action

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

Allen Slade

Personal brands are important for entrepreneurs, leaders and jobseekers. To maximize your impact, you need a personal brand statement like this:

For [a specific person or group], I want to be known for [six adjectives] so I can deliver [valuable outcomes].

To make a difference, your brand has to move from words to action. You need to turn the wheel of intelligent change. 

1. Take your personal brand statement and plan an action. For a jobseeker, you might revise your LinkedIn profile. For a leader, you might change a meeting format. For an entrepreneur, you might revise your company’s website. Whatever you do, ask “How can this profile/meeting/website/etc. project my personal brand better?”

2. Make the change on a small scale. Give it your best shot.

3.  Get feedback. On the first turn of the wheel, ask someone in your circle of trusted advisors how they think the new approach reflects your personal brand.

4.  Analyze and interpret the feedback. This is critical. To make intelligent change, you will not blindly do everything your advisor suggests.

Your next steps depend on the nature of the feedback.

Continue Forward Movement

Suppose your advisor likes what you have done? On the next turn of the intelligent change wheel, use the positive feedback to move ahead:

Keep going. Do more change in the same direction. If your change was tightening up your resume, cut more factoids that don’t support your brand. If your meeting approach was to generate more empowerment and participation, give up even more control over the agenda. If your website redesign involved a powerful brand message, add graphics to reinforce the message.

Go public. Test your idea beyond your circle of trusted advisors. Put your LinkedIn profile online, hold the meeting with your new approach or launch your website.

Switch topics. After you get this part of your brand close enough, switch to another arena. As a jobseeker, you might work on interview responses to reflect your personal brand. As a leader, you work on one-to-one communication to drive empowerment. As an entrepreneur, you might develop your elevator conversation. Whatever you work on, use your brand statement to plan your action, take action, get feedback and think hard about how well you are projecting your brand image.

Whatever you do next, plan it carefully before taking action. Then, get more feedback to get ready for the next turn of the wheel.

Get Unstuck

If you receive mostly negative feedback, what should you do? Like a car stuck in the snow, consider using reverse. Go backwards through the intelligent change wheel to figure what you can do to get unstuck.


Was your follow through weak? You had a great plan for a great brand, but you got sloppy on implementation. Polish your implementation and get more feedback.

Was your plan off target? Maybe the problems is with the action you took. Maybe your brand statement is off – your six adjectives may not create a desirable image, your outcomes may not be valued by your target group or, most troubling, you may not be credible enough to pull it off. Revise your planned action or revise your brand, follow through and get more feedback.

Have you misinterpreted the feedback? It is possible that the feedback you received was off base. In my experience, if you ask someone for feedback on your resume, they almost always suggest changes. Their suggestions reflect their personal style. But, if one advisor suggests a chronological resume, the next advisor suggests a functional resume and the third advisor suggests an accomplishment based resume, you know they can’t all be on target. Be careful with discounting feedback, however. Generally, think hard about your follow through and your plan before you reject feedback.

Whether the feedback you receive on your brand action is positive, negative or a mix, continue to take action and get more feedback. I have been speaking about personal branding for years, yet I still continue to work on my brand. I will be done defining, articulating and delivering on my personal brand after someone gives my eulogy.  I humbly suggest that you should do the same. Until then, continue to turn the wheel of intelligent change to polish your brand and deliver valuable outcomes to the people you serve.

One comment on “Put Your Personal Brand into Action

  1. Pingback: Practicing Leadership Skills in Safety

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