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I'm Kelly - the founder of She Is Fierce! and your host on our blog featuring stories and wisdom from fierce women all over the world! 


#42: Summer School: Build Your Personal Brand, Part One

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I’m so happy to be back with you on to talk about one of my favorite things to speak about – on stages, in workshops and within our She Is Fierce! Memberships… building a personal brand – or a business brand – that serves you and get results!

Now – if you had asked me ten years ago if I would love talking about this I would have said a hard ‘NO’ – because it sounds so cheesy. 

But I’m not here to talk about cheesy things or current fads, I’m here to help you present yourself or your business to the world in a way that helps you achieve your goals, makes it clear who you are and what you stand for – and ultimately, makes following your purpose so much easier.

This Heirloom Summer School episode is for both entrepreneurs and professionals – we’re keeping the focus on YOU and your personal brand… whether you’re a business leader (or woman on the rise) or you’re running your own company and trying to figure out why you’re not getting the respect your expertise or product deserves.

It’s hard to think about ourselves as a commodity that is judged in the same way a business’ brand might be.

In truth though, we think about ourselves in that way every day. Without thinking, we adjust our behaviors, the way we speak, our body language, even our clothing and hairstyles according to who we’re dealing with in the moment – whether it is a close friend or a potential employer or client.

Personal branding is simply an extension of our real life interaction with our friends, colleagues and clients.  We have to accept that other people make assumptions and judgments about us… but remember that you have the power to shape their impression!

More and more couples now meet online, most employers find or check up on their future employees online, and entrepreneurs can often tie their success or failure to how successfully they get their message out online – on platforms where they never get a chance to have a personal interaction with their prospective client or customer.

Today, I am talking through the four foundational steps to honing a POWERFUL Personal Brand… and next week, come back for the next pod where I’ll talk about some of the more sophisticated ways to build your brand and make it work for you.

And the following week, I’ll be talking exclusively to entrepreneurs about how to hone a business brand for your product or service that meets the needs of your specific audience and communicates with them where they are (not where you want them to be!)


So, let’s kick off with the basics. We have eight steps to building a powerful personal brand. 

If you’re ready to jump right in and work on this with a beautiful action workbook to help you out – you can grab my free Personal Branding Roadmap at right now!

We’ll go deeper on the first four today:


#1 – Outline Your Starting Point

#2 – Align Your Brand to Your Goals

#3 – Take an Inventory

#4 – Identify Your Brand Signature


Next week, we’ll cover the last four:


#5 – Craft Your Stories 

#6 – Put Yourself Out There

#7 – Expand Your Network & Horizons

#8 – Claim It – Your Big, Fierce, Audacious Dreams!


The first four steps are the foundations – and that’s what we’ll focus on now. So, let’s jump in.


#1 – Outline Your Starting Point


Where are you in the process of being a total boss?

Completely lost? On the rise? Half-way there, but need some help? Getting clear on where you are right now will help you build an effective personal brand.

Now – once you have an idea of where you are on your journey, focus on your vision for where you would like your brand to go…

Are there role models out there who are doing what you want to do (brand-wise) really well?  

  • Maybe someone who is constantly recognized as a leader in your industry?
  • Maybe someone with a beautiful and meaningful online presence that speaks to you and gets them results?
  • Maybe a business owner who has been able to become the face of their brand and use it to connect with their audience really well?

Make note of what exactly it is you admire about those role models – not to copy and paste their style, but to consider what it is you really want your powerful personal brand to do for you – and what success will look like when you get there!

Having clarity on where you’re going will help you do the work – and keep you motivated to keep going!


#2 – Align Your Brand to Your Goals


In number one, you thought about where you are today, who your personal branding role models are and what your vision is for the future.

In number two, we want to consider what your real goals are – and what you need to be doing on a practical level to bring your personal brand to life in a way that serves your goals.

For example, if your goal is to get a new leadership role in a large company in the next 6 months, you will need to be taking a hard look at your LinkedIn profile to make sure your profile reflects your vision and goals. Or, f you’re a business owner, you’ll want to consider what action you need to take as the leader of your business to get in front of prospective clients – both online and off.

A huge part of number two is also one of my favorite exercises of all time – clarifying your values.

Ultimately, you want to build a personal brand that stands the test of time and is true to who you are – basically, you want to present an authentic version of YOU to the world so you’re never feeling like you’re putting on an act.

Here’s what this looks like: An effective and sustainable personal brand will reflect who you truly are and what you value. 

Consider the values that you hold most dear (kindness, strength, wisdom, etc.). Your brand should clearly broadcast the top 3-5 values through the language you use, the style of your emails or stationery and any other visual cues you give off on social media through your pictures – or even the clothes you wear to an event or meeting. 

Getting clear on what you value helps you craft an honest brand. An honest brand will get you the results you are looking for!


#3 – Take an Inventory


You are the creator of your digital and your real-life personal style. By style, I mean your clothes, but also the way you speak, the way you carry yourself and the way you send verbal or nonverbal cues to those you communicate with.

Take some time to write down an honest inventory of the messages you might be sending to others right now.

Consider your social media presence, email, communications, activities you participate in, and the professional and personal network you’ve cultivated. This is your chance to review your current personal brand and get real about what needs to change and what you should be leaning into more!

Write down some of the obvious external markers of ‘success’ like your job title, awards you’ve won or other public achievements of note.  Don’t be modest in this exercise… humility is a virtue and there is a place for it. But this isn’t it! 

You are building a foundation of knowledge you will pull from – you don’t have to share this starting point list with anyone.

Once you have those ‘external’ achievements and markers down, start to think a bit bigger – what are you great at?  What value do you bring to the table in your relationships and your colleagues, friends and family?

Ok – now, take a few moments to consider any negatives or drawbacks that you feel are important to take into account to create meaningful change.

Where might you also be falling short in presenting yourself in a way that will help you achieve your goals?

For example:

  • Did you recently launch a business but you haven’t told anyone about it and you’re trying to pitch products to strangers online because it’s too scary to tell your friends and family?
  • Do you have big dreams of making a difference in your professional career by helping to bring attention to an important cause in your workplace – but you’ve only told your closest work friends and not your boss?
  • Do your public social media accounts show you in a light you would not want your ideal client or prospective employer to see you in?
  • Do you keep telling yourself that you’ll fix these issues sometime soon when you have time?

Great news! It’s time! We’re doing it!

Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and you can build on what’s best about your personal brand and style and drop the rest!


Next up is our final step for today, and one that may just transform the way you think about your personal brand.

If you’re not sure why this would transform your brand, I encourage you to download the Personal Branding Roadmap and work on this a little more in the free workbook – you can get it at


#4 – Identify Your Brand Signature


You’ve set your vision and clarified your goals for your personal brand. You’ve thought about the values you want your brand to reflect and you’ve taken an inventory of your current brand and what you want to change or do more of.

Now, let’s spend some time on what you can do to truly set yourself apart from the crowd. 

I call this your ‘brand signature’ – the unique gifts, talents or experience you have that sets you apart and is what people will take away from their interaction with you – and what they will tell others about you.

This is your ‘unique selling point’ or your ‘point of difference.’ It’s a characteristic that is unique to you – it could be that you’re skilled in an area where most competitors are lacking, or that you have an impressive resume that crosses disciplines that others in your field just don’t have. 

It could be your personal story or your distinctive personality that you can use to your advantage.  If you identify more than one, great! You can utilize them at different times in different settings.

With more than seven billion people on the planet, there are bound to be a LOT of other professionals in your area of expertise, with similar ambitions and lifestyles… your brand signature is a way for you to set yourself apart from everyone else.

So, let’s identify the skills and talents that can make up YOUR powerful brand signature.

First of all, let me take a moment to say that most people are way off track when they first start to think about what their brand signature could be – often, the first things we come up with are either a repeat of our ‘values’… I will often hear someone say they are ‘friendly’ or they’re ‘hard-working’ – and that is their brand signature.


That is a good starting point, but it’s not a brand signature!

Your values are what you hold dear, they’re characteristics about your personal approach to life and work – like friendliness or determination.

Your brand signature is a recognition of what you are naturally great at. Often. this is a SKILL, a TALENT – something you ‘DO’ that is exceptional. 

It could be amazing sales skills, the ability to organize anything, a natural ability to do math in your head that has helped you as an engineer – ANYTHING that has value in your desired marketplace, that you do better than the vast majority of others (especially those in your competitive space) and that comes naturally to you!

Side note:

Here is one variation I want to make sure to mention – one other brand signature variation could be a finely-honed social skill.

Remember how I mentioned that friendliness doesn’t really count – but it COULD BE a starting point?

Being the most welcoming and social person in the room could mean you’re just friendly, and that is one of your values… but, if you naturally use that gift to connect others and create opportunities for everyone in the room, you could consider that to be a brand signature.

If others constantly talk about how you know everyone and you’re the person to go to for connections, you could say your brand signature is being a great ‘Connector.’

Still not sure what your brand signature is? Ask friends and colleagues for feedback!

Ask them what they think you are great at doing – and make notes on which of their answers could be a great ‘brand signature’ for you to lean into.

You may have a few great answers that could all be your ‘brand signatures.’ If that’s the case – Awesome! But, remember – don’t try to pitch them all at once! 


Focus on the brand signature (the skill or talent you bring to the table) that will be most effective in the job interview or most impressive to your prospective client.

Trying to tell others everything you’re good at at once is a distraction and confuses the person you’re talking to – often leaving them with no impression at all.

No matter what your big vision plan is or what your career path looks like, with a little time and thought, you’ll be able to identify one or more clear brand signatures.

Ultimately, I want you to feel confident telling people who you are, what you value, what you bring to the table…and to feel empowered to ask for more!


So, let’s do a quick recap of the four foundational steps for building your personal brand that we covered today:


#1 – Outline Your Starting Point

#2 – Align Your Brand to Your Goals

#3 – Take an Inventory

#4 – Identify Your Brand Signature

I hope you enjoyed listening to the four foundational steps for building a powerful personal brand and had some a-ha moments and branding breakthroughs!

Remember – you can download a simple and free Personal Branding Roadmap by going to right now!

If you want to go even deeper – you get access to a full course on this topic inside the She Is Fierce! Membership… and if you are looking for someone to lead workshops on personal branding – or business branding – within your company, the Heirloom leadership team and I would LOVE to work with your team to make them more effective leaders and communicators! 

I will be back next week with the next four steps – we’re moving on from the foundations of building your personal brand style into how you can actually share your values and your brand signature in the world. 

We’ll be talking about how to tell your story, where to focus your attention and how to grow your network in a way that serves your big picture goals!



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