A personal brand can be a powerful thing, but it also needs to offer flexibility. The human spirit is a kaleidoscope of values, emotions, drivers and logic. You are diverse and you bend and change as you move through life.
When you start out with your personal brand journey you need to first consider the different aspects that make you, you. You need to refine these a little, so you have a number of tangible parts of yourself to share, to allow people to relate to you while keeping something of yourself back and private. Though you might enjoy developing a personal brand or sharing your “brand” with others you don’t want to share every single part of yourself. There is something precious in keeping something for you.
In this vein, the parts you choose to share must showcase your holistic nature and should not create fixed or immovable points. For example, one of my values would be “informal” because my approach to others and work is relaxed, personable and relatable. I dislike hierarchy and overly stuffy situations and pedantic people. That said I am not informal all the time. My brand has to flex because sometimes I will be in situations that call for my wearing a ballgown and not my pyjamas.
You want to be mindful not to typecast yourself too tightly in your brand development but allow some flex, flow and adaptability to certain situations, clients or experiences. You grow and change and will see your values develop as you age and learn but also as your resources and focuses change. Although some will stay consistent throughout time.
Likewise, if you identify too strongly with some of your values you might create a brand bias and people will only associate you with more specific or niche things. For example, one of my values is giving and I love to give to others in different ways, but my brand is also creative, optimistic, informal, collaborative etc. I don’t want to box myself in by relying too much on certain values of my brand because that might put too much expectation on me, i.e. give all my services, give all my time for free, give, give, give. Suddenly I am worn out and undervalued in other areas.
To stay mindful about your personal brand and brand development, consider reviewing your values regularly. If you see you are evolving, notice and respond to this change so as not to box yourself in. Similarly, you could map out your values on a pie chart or wheel of life, style graph to see how much you are showcasing each part of your brand and each value. It is essential to live and breathe “brand you”, so if you are moving away from values you once held tightly, embrace this and adapt.