Learn something from each woman, then go ahead and do it yourself.
[This is the third article in a series about personal branding. Read the other articles here: The Beginner's Guide To Personal Branding and Why Personal Branding Is Crucial for Your Small Business Success].
Copy and paste your personal brand
The women in this article show you that personal branding stems out of strong will, hard work, goal focus, the ability to stay in sight as well as the ability to not being stopped by criticism.
A common attribute is that they have created strong personal brands for themelves, many of them out of nothing. And that leads us to the bottom line of this article: if they can do it – so can you.
Each lady has a different lesson to teach you. Feel free to copy and paste whatever you like into your own personal brand building. I’m sure they don’t mind.
Let’s DIY! (And remember: men can do it too!)
1. It’s possible to completely change how people perceive you
Frequently known as an “angry black woman“, Michelle Obama did some serious rebranding when moving into the White House. Now she’s the First Mom, caring not only about her own but for all American families, and act as a role model for healthy eating.
DIY: It takes effort and perseverance to change an image that’s been stuck in people’s minds for a long time. But along with well-designed branding strategies, it’s possible to highlight other traits and make them outshine less preferred characteristics.
2. Even when no-one’s willing to hire you, you can create a living and a reputation for yourself
Being an un-employed single mother, JK Rowling was living on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. Today, she’s the best selling author in UK in history and has established the Volant Charitable Trust, which combat poverty and social inequality.
DIY: Use your creativity when going through rough times. Hard work and inner strength conquer most difficulties. Believe in yourself when no-one else does.
3. Remain human when you’re on top
Many people may have concerns about Oprah’s omnipresence influence in the world, but still, no-one seems to actually dislike her. Why? Oprah’s show is all about emotions, she shows that she genuinly cares about the things she discusses, and she’s been very open with her weight struggle. Despite her tremendous successes and wealth, she’s one of us. Women can relate to her problems and joys. Her warmth passes through the tv-screens into the living rooms of people all over the world.
DIY: Being likeable is the key word in branding. Make people press the like-button for your personal brand, whether it’s online or away from the keyboard. Keep your promises, be nice to all who deserve it and don’t forget those who helped you in the past.
4. Live and breathe your personal brand
Besides from being one of the best paid actresses in the world, Angelina Jolie now promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Special Envoy and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. Ms Jolie has been highly involved in charities serving children in the third world. For example she donated the profits for the image rights of photos of her newborns.
DIY: Incorporate what you do best into your everyday life. May it be ice-skating or chess, be known for being that man on ice or that brainy chess-lady. Don’t hide your talents. Put them out on display for everyone to see.
5. Don’t lose track of who you are, no matter which situation you find yourself in
While being the domestic godess in her own empire, Martha Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators, and was sentenced to serve a five-month term in a federal prison. As expected, she didn’t fall into despair. Instead she continued to be her own efficient self and became an informal liaison between the administration and her fellow inmates. People Magazine wrote: “with the drive that would make her a billionaire, Stewart took her lemon of a sentence and made lemonade. Heck, she made a lemon soufflé.”
DIY: Don’t be a chameleon, don’t blend in too much. Stand out and stick to your values, even in environments where conformity is common. Focus on your goals, not on others opinions.
6. Jump at the right opportunity of branding yourself
In 2007 when Gucci took her on, Victoria Beckham topped the worst dressed lists. The unconfirmed story says Gucci’s act stemmed out of pure self-preservation since mrs Beckham had begun to be the threat that could destroy their brand: she was seen and associated with their clothes, and what Victoria wore was instantly rejected by Gucci’s regular customers. Gucci concluded they couldn’t stop Victoria’s obsession with their clothes (she paid for them herself) so they decided to try to change her from within. They sponsored her outfits and gave her a complete make-over. They even supported her own fashion brand, and made her into the fashionista she’s considered today.
DIY: You’ll never know what the future holds for you, but you can prepare yourself to jump when the opportunity arrives. Just as Victoria Beckham jumped on the Gucci train, so can you when something good comes your way. The most important thing is to keep your eyes open, so you don’t miss it. Get rid of self-doubt and second thoughts. The road to success is trying!
7. Set your priorities straight and be open about what they are
The same day Yahoo! announced her as their new CEO, Marissa Mayer revealed that she was pregnant. When the baby was born, she went on a historically short maternity leave of two weeks, but she claims her priorities now are “God, family and Yahoo! – in that order”.
DIY: Not only do you need to clarify your priorities for yourself, you also need to clarify them for people around you. It gives people an idea of where you stand and what kind of person you are.
8. Always re-invent your personal brand
Known for re-inventing both her music and image for every new tour, Madonna says she’s her own experiment, her own work of art. She expresses her personality through multiple styles, yet pursuing the same professional standard.
DIY: A person evolves and develops over time, (just look at the characters in your favorite book or soap opera), and so should your personal brand as well. Just like Madonna, it’s possible to change direction or style, but still remain true to your inner persona. Re-invent yourself regularly to make sure your brand is fresh enough to be seen and considered, but keep-on going with the same goal in sight.
Do you want to learn more about these strong women and their personal brands (including one stunning bonus lady)? Head over to Personal Branding 2.0: Up-Level Yourself to dig deeper into the personal branding soil.