Four Questions for Developing Your Personal Brand

Positive personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to create positive personal impact, you need to do three things: 1) create, build and nurture your personal brand; 2) dress for success; and 3) know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.

Have you created your personal brand yet?  What is it?  How do you use it in your career and life?  Please leave a comment sharing your personal branding experiences with us.

I get lots of questions about how to create, build and nurture a personal brand.  I always advise people to the Three C’s of branding.  Your brand needs to be clear, consistent and constant – meaning that people need to be able to easily understand your brand, your brand must be consistent with who you are as a person and you need to stay on brand all the time in all you do.

I’ve found that clarity is the C that gives people the most trouble.  The August 2008 issue of Women’s Edge Magazine had an interesting article written by Tom Stevens and called “Four Questions…To Sharper Thinking and Focused Summaries” that can help with clarifying your personal brand.

Interestingly, the article is not about personal branding, but how to get your projects on the radar screen of senior executives.  However, I find that Tom’s four questions work well for someone trying to create a strong personal brand. These four questions are simple, but require some thought. 

  • What?  What do I do?
  • Why?  Why is it important?
  • How?  How do I do it?
  • So What?  Why does this matter in the long run?

Let me use my Common Sense Guy brand as an example.

  • What?  I help individual people, teams and entire organizations succeed by applying their common sense.
  • Why?  Common sense is often overlooked.  Most problems have simple answers that can be solved by the application of time tested, common sense principles.
  • How?  I coach individuals.  Facilitate team building workshops.  Analyze organizations and suggest and help implement strategic changes.
  • So What? Individual, team and organizational success require constant renewal.  Common sense says it’s important for people, teams and organizations to periodically review their goals and aspirations, as well as their progress in reaching them.

Can you answer these four simple questions about yourself?  If so, you have created your personal brand.  Now you need to build and nurture it by making your actions consistent with it, and making it a constant part of your behavior.

The common sense point is simple.  Successful people create, build and nurture their personal brands.  You can create your unique personal brand by answering the following four questions.  1) What do I do?  2) Why is it important?  3) How do I do it? 4) Why does this matter in the long run?  These questions may seem simple at first glance, but they can help you summarize what you want to communicate about yourself to the rest of the world – and that’s a great start on creating your personal brand.

That’s my take on personal branding and the four simple questions of What? Why? How? And So what?  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.  I really appreciate and value your thoughts and comments.  Thanks for reading.


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