Talent alone doesn’t guarantee that circumstances around you won’t change. Salma Shah discusses how to build a strong personal brand.
The current trends in today’s fast-paced working world lean towards the importance of self-promotion and being remembered for all the right reasons. Few of us have ‘jobs for life’ and some of us may want portfolio careers, aim for promotion or dream of starting our own business and work for ourselves. Talent alone doesn’t guarantee that circumstances around you won’t change.
A strong personal brand will put you in a much better position during and after change. Another benefit of a strong personal brand is that it creates trust and draws others to you as new opportunities present themselves.
Your personal brand is how you market yourself, the way you communicate and how others describe you. Developing a powerful and distinctive brand requires projecting your purpose into the world.
Archetypes, described as the ‘software’ of the soul, can give your brand a clear meaning and positioning. The idea of brand archetypes isn’t new. It originates from the work of the well-known psychologist Carl Jung. He described archetypes as universal collective patterns of the unconscious. Regardless of culture or language, he believed everyone shares and understands these themes because they are an undercurrent to all humanity.
Why are we so loyal to a certain brand and immediately drawn to a new one? It’s because subconsciously we have forged a connection with the brand’s archetype. We all evoke archetypes in our work and it is possible to have more than one archetype. Most of us are likely to gravitate to just a few. An archetype is sparked by your behavior in your mind and the minds of others.
The twelve universal brand archetypes are:
The Caregiver: Helping and protecting from harm e.g. Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa
The Creator: The artist and dreamer e.g. JK Rowling, Frida Kahlo
The Explorer: Seeker and wanderer e.g. Cheryl Strayed, Amelia Earhart
The Heroine: Warrior or fighter e.g. Malala Yousafzai, Erin Brokovich
The Innocent: The dreamer or romantic e.g. Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana
The Jester: Plays the fool but has an important message e.g. Ellen Degeneres
The Lover: Idealistic dreamer e.g. Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian
The Magician: Transform situations e.g. Marianne Williamson, Mary Poppins
The Ordinary Girl: Connects with others e.g. Jennifer Aniston, Kylie Jenner
The Rebel: Rule breaker e.g. Madonna, Nawal El Saadawi
The Ruler: Leader e.g. Meg Whitman, Angela Merkel
The Sage: The teacher, helping others to understand the world e.g. Maya Angelou, Oprah
By understanding what your archetype is you can evoke the qualities of the archetype in your work and build a distinctive game changing personal brand. Madonna, with her changing hairstyles and lifestyles, is the eternal rebel. Oprah invokes the sage archetype as someone who, through her various media channels and products, is associated with wisdom.
Your personal brand is the impression others have from any touchpoint with you. Think of it as the invisible fingerprint you leave on people. It encompasses everything from your style, accessories, credentials, accolades and décor etc. It is also how you are remembered once you leave the room. Just remember that brand consistency is key, as it makes others feel trusting and safe.