I'm picking up where I left off on the previous post. So far I've gathered adjectives 17 friends, family, and clients perceive as my personal brand. I've also identified adjectives I would use for my personal brand. But what else is there that might have an influence on my personal brand?
- My opinions, likes, and dislikes
- What tools am I working with?
- Who do I do business with?
- Who is my target market?
- What are my roots, my upbringing, where I was raised, etc.
- What is my story?
My opinions, likes and dislikes
There's no doubt that your personal opinions, the things you like, and the things you dislike have an impact on who you are and how you project yourself into the world. This in turn impacts your personal brand. When I speak of opinions. I'm not referring to things like personal political opinions, rather I'm referring to my personal professional opinion's. For example, in my opinion WordPress and Thesis are the best CMS combination for any self publisher to use on the Internet.
Things you like and dislike also have an impact. For example, some things I like:
- The Internet (duh)
- Design of all kinds (graphic, information, packaging, product, typography, etc.)
- 20th-century abstract expressionist artwork (Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, etc.)
- Music of all kinds
- Real football (the EPL not the NFL)
And some things I don't like:
- Bad design
- Messes and clutter
- Manchester United
What this all boils down to is an exercise in distillation. You need to continuously ask questions of yourself. Simultaneously, you need to be answering questions. You should not be looking to others to tell you what your personal brand should be. You have to decide what information is relevant and helps reinforce those qualities that are important to you.
Remember though that everyone has an opinion. People may already have a perception of what they think you are like, and that influences their thinking. Don't be entirely dismissive of their opinions, rather embrace the information. You may find it useful somewhere down the road.
What tools am I working with?
This may seem like a mundane question, but again, it's a process of collecting information. I use an Apple G5 dual processor computer as my main machine. I do 99% of my work on this machine. I use WordPress, Thesis, the Adobe creative suite, BBEdit, CSSedit, and a variety of other smaller software tools to help me get the job done. I also have a PC laptop that I use primarily as a preview machine to see what websites look like to the majority of people on the Internet.
Who do I do business with?
I do business with large companies and solo entrepreneurs that are serious about using the Internet. They want to establish or increase their significance in people's lives through the power of web-based communications. This does not mean that they are stiff and stuffy. Rather, I like to work with people who have goals, perhaps don't know exactly how to achieve them with Internet tools, and like to have fun during the process.
Who is my target market?
Businesses and people who need expert consultation in developing their websites. They want to use smart, proven technology that works (like WordPress). Many times they know what they want and realize that its quicker to hire a professional to get the job done that much quicker. They may or may not know about the power of Thesis as a framework, but we can work on that.
What is my story?
Everyone has a story and it impacts your person brand. My story is simple. I grew up in a very small village in New York called Waterford. I lived there the first 23 years of my life. Coming from a small town I learned to appreciate people, history and heritage, and fundamentals. I left home to go to college and came back to Waterford after graduating with 2 degrees; B.A. in Fine Arts and B.S in Information Science. I then chased my wife out to California 16 years ago and we started a family about 9 years ago. I worked for a variety of advertising and design firms before striking out on my own about 4 years ago. Now here I am today. That is essentially it in a nutshell.
So where from here?
Now that I have collected data, the next step is to articulate my brand in terms of a positioning statement and begin exploring visual ideas. That is for the next post in this series.