Creating Your Personal Brand Story

Last week we looked at how higher purpose brands stories inspire

This is the type of brief I get as a consultant more than any other. So it was with great surprise and delight when I got briefed by one of Australia’s leading companies to run a workshop that was centred on each Marketer developing their own unique brand story. Is there anything more higher purpose than that? The Marketing team not only displayed amazing personal bravery but a ton of foresight in using this clarity as a key differentiator in the competitive landscape.

Today’s blog is about bringing to life the first ‘C’ – that being clarity. The way to do that is by defining your personal signature story. Such stories should have the main attributes of other brand stories:

They should be intriguing, authentic and involving. But they should also have two other qualities:

The should be relevant to your past, present or future careers

They should give you a professional direction, provide a motivating rationale and / or illuminate your relevant professional strengths or weaknesses.

A set of professional signature stories can address career questions that are sometimes hard to answer directly. All professional managers or executives – or those on the track to these positions – will find value in articulating these story sets and periodically reviewing and expanding on them. With these stories, they can find ways to savor the past, maximize the present and plan for the future.

Some leaders have packaged their signature stories into books that chronicle their lives in a textured narrative. Among the many leaders who have done this well are Marc Benioff (, Andy Grove (Intel), Lou Gerstner (IBM), A.G Lafley (Proctor & Gamble), Richard Branson (Virgin), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Peter Guber (Columbia Pictures) and Jack Welsh (General Electric). Many other managers write weekly blogs or LinkedIn posts. It is never been easier to put your point of view out into the world.

A professional signature story can arise from different sources. Maybe it was an event in your professional life – a notable success or failure, for example. Or an opportunity to change directions. Or the way another leader in your organization accomplished something outstanding or handled a situation poorly. Or how an outside role model did something you wanted to emulate. Or how a chapter from your personal life influenced your career.

As with brand or organizational stories, a single story may capture your identity, direction and strategy. But in most cases a set of stories is needed to fill that wide role. Professional signature stories have many roles and objectives. Here are four questions they can answer – the first three focusing on being introspective and understanding yourself, and the fourth on making yourself and your stories more credible to others

The most relevant and powerful professional signature stories usually play more than one of these roles – and often all four.

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