She will go down as one of the world’s greatest entertainers, fashion icons, and entrepreneurs of our time. It cannot be denied that she is one of the hardest working women in show business. Her brand? It is one that is simply unmatched.
Perhaps you’ve taken a guess at who this woman is. To the world she is known as Beyoncé, former teen star turned music mogul that we’ve watched grow up right before our eyes. Just as Beyoncé has created a worldwide brand, you, too have your own personal brand.
Marty Neumeier, author, and speaker on all things branding defines a brand by first laying out what a brand is not; “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product … a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” A brand is the story that people tell about you when you are not in the room.
Although we are experiencing unprecedented times with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time than now to build your personal brand. Whether you’re in high school or college headed off to the next phase of your life, or an adult in the workforce looking for your dream job, with the lead of the infamous Queen Bey, here are four ways you can build a personal brand that truly reflects who you are, what you stand for, and where you are going.
Set and achieve your goals
From a very young age, Beyoncé knew what she wanted. She had dreams to win Star Search and land record deals. She has obviously surpassed those dreams now, but what we can glean from her is that she started with the end in mind. She set high goals and did what she could to achieve those dreams.
Starting with the end in mind will help you self-manage your life and your career. Knowing where you are headed will be your roadmap, it will help you keep a pulse on where you are and where you are headed. With a plan, you will be able to recognize once you have arrived.
Think about where you see your life in the next five to 10 years. If that feels too far away, you may simply want to think about what you enjoy and what motivates you! Maybe it’s getting involved with organizations that spark your interest or taking classes that can teach you new skills. Write down your vision and consider what actions it will take you to get there.
Establish your authentic personality
Beyoncé’s core values and personality are all rooted in her goals to be the BEST. We can see clearly that hard work, creativity, and a commitment to excellence are all things that she values. The sacrifices she made as a child, the time spent on the road, and in studios instead of on the playground, really show in her work! She’s won a ton of awards because she’s worked harder than a lot of people we know. Although her life looks different now from the days earlier in her career, nothing Beyoncé puts out is ever mediocre, her passion for great art always shows through her work.
Knowing your core values helps you establish the essence of your personality. This will allow you to be authentically you, no matter where you are. If asked to be someone that you are not, it will be easier for you to say no and keep pursuing things that serve you.
Like Beyoncé, you can establish your authentic personality by identifying your core values with a simple exercise. Begin by listing six people who, if you could clone them, would lead you to personal and professional success. What are the qualities they exemplify? What do they do that puts them on the list? Write them all down so you may see all of the possibilities.
The idea is that your core values are somewhere in that long list you’ve just created. The rule of thumb is a narrowing that final list down to 3 to 7 core values, less is more.
Know what you stand for
Beyoncé isn’t just a talented musician and entertainer, mother and wife, she also uses her brand to empower and uplift the Black community. While on her latest cover of Vogue, she shared the story of her pregnancy with twins along with her thoughts on body acceptance and her legacy with full editorial control. It was important for her to work with Tyler Mitchell, who was the first African American to ever photograph a Vogue cover. Giving back to the Black community isn’t new to Beyoncé. In 2012, Beyoncé launched BeyGOOD, an organization that partners with various global charity organizations that promote social issues including safe water for communities and mental health awareness. She recently donated $6 million to provide basic necessities and assistance with mental health initiatives to communities of color most impacted by COVID-19.
To know what you stand for, you also have to pinpoint your unique value proposition, or simply what benefit you offer and what makes you different from others like you. Knowing what you bring to the table allows you to walk into any room or space with more confidence. It helps you determine what organizations to join, what companies to work for and what friends to keep. If something or someone doesn’t align with what you stand for, or someone doesn’t see your value, it is that much easier to walk away.
So, ask yourself, what makes you uniquely and authentically you? What makes you different from others like you? Think through your answers like you would during an interview if you were asked, why should we hire you? Or if a friend, classmate, or colleague were asked to speak on your behalf for a position, what would you want them to say makes you the best person for that position? Lastly, determine what it is that you are passionate about and why you are passionate about those things.
The reason we all know Beyoncé to be an incredible entertainer, fashion icon, filmmaker, and entrepreneur who has creatively taken many risks to create a brand to be reckoned with, is because she has been consistent with that brand for as long as she’s been in the spotlight.
To alter the perception of those sitting at the table when you aren’t present, you must be consistent about who you are. Once you have nailed down your personal brand your lifestyle, your hobbies, and extracurricular activities should align. Ask yourself, “Does this fit with my brand or not?” The key here will be to find a personal brand that naturally aligns with your character and career goals. Do the following traits and people align with your goals, your values, and what you stand for?
Take action by conducting a personal audit. Although it can be intimidating, one-to-one feedback from peers, classmates, and advisors will help you understand if reality matches your assumptions about yourself. Friends and family can also provide very valuable feedback and often provide some of the most honest and surprisingly insightful observations! Take this on board with an open mind and good spirit as it’s important to build an honest picture of who you are and how others see you when creating a personal brand.
Excellence happens on purpose. Beyoncé didn’t become a household name by accident. She developed her goals early on, she understood her values and what she stood for and has been consistent for decades. To that point, your personal branding never stops, and it takes time to develop. So, give yourself grace and permission to take control of your narrative. Really take the time to hone in on your personal brand.
It’s never too early or too late to brand like Beyoncé.