Personal branding is about communicating your unique value and voice, and delivering it to an ever-growing professional network. The components that make up your unique value and brand voice are your personal brand attributes.
In this blog post we will answer the question “what are personal brand attributes?,” go over examples of critical attributes to have in your personal brand, and examine the attributes of prominent personal brands.
Personal brand attributes are the characteristics that make a personal brand unique. Examples of personal brand attributes include the tone with which someone communicates, the visual style of content they create, the values they stand for, and the underlying mission, goals, and vision that drives their personal branding efforts.
Similar to the attributes of a business or corporate brand, personal brand attributes can be thought of as the essence of someone’s brand.
Use this personal brand framework to help define your personal brand attributes.
While personal brand attributes will be unique for everyone, there are attributes that every personal brand should have in order to maximize the value it provides for the person building it.
Being approachable is an attribute that will make your personal brand grow faster, as potential connections and fans will feel more comfortable reaching out to ask questions, and engaging with content you share online. Being approachable opens the door for audience growth as people engage with you at higher volumes, and
Would you rather take advice from someone who comes across as friendly and inspirational, or someone who communicates with a negative attitude and an air of impatience? The great personal brands present themselves using the former approach, and their audiences appreciate them for it.
Communicating with a positive tone enables people to be a value-add for their audiences, inspiring people to improve, teaching people new things, and lifting them up. Being positive will lead people to see you and your brand in a positive light, and will make your insights and personal brand content resonate more with people.
You could be the most qualified professional and have a great personal brand, but if you aren’t consistent, it can harm your credibility, and undo progress that you make in growing your brand.
For example, disappearing for a while when people are used to seeing consistent updates from you online, or deeply engaging with connections and then stopping will raise questions, and make people second guess whether or not you are a reliable resource in your respective field or business.
Of course people need breaks to recharge, and you should certainly take them. But to avoid coming across as inconsistent in your personal branding and networking efforts, you can communicate by sharing a post indicating you are taking a break for personal time, or let key contacts and customers know you will be taking time off.
Now this will sound counterintuitive, as most personal branding goals are motivated by self improvement and personal gain, but being selfless is a powerful personal brand attribute.
Being selfless in the way you communicate and operate your personal brand is an attribute that the people with the strongest personal brands have prioritized. For example, entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi and Justin Welsh give away insights, advice, and valuable content and tools to their audiences on a regular basis. This gets people into the habit of returning to them as a source of value, making people more likely to be willing to make purchases or hire them for professional services.
Vaynerchuk advises people to give away free value ⅔ of the time, and to make an ask of your audience ⅓ of the time in his personal branding book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.” This balance in your content strategy will ensure you come across as someone who provides value vs. taking value and being overly self promotional.
Kaur Sodhi exemplifies this strategy and selfless personal brand attribute, giving away free value and advice in the form of writing online, and free digital products that she gives away like her free Side Hustler Checklist. Her free content and products grow her audience, and increase the network of potential customers and fans for her paid products and writing.
Being selfless in your personal branding efforts and giving your audience free value is a seemingly counterintuitive growth strategy that will provide you more value in the long run than a more selfish approach.
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The attributes above are not a comprehensive list of potential personal brand attributes, and they also do not represent the only valuable personal brand attributes that you should consider for your brand.
Additional personal brand attributes worth considering include:
Again, this is not a comprehensive list of personal brand attributes. Aside from actionable attributes that tangibly affect the growth of your brand (ex. Work ethic and consistency), there is a nearly unlimited list of potential attributes that can be associated with your personality and unique perspective.
Related: Personal Branding Challenges: Tips for Overcoming the Most Common Personal Branding Challenges
Another approach to simplifying the answer to the question “what are personal brand attributes?” is to take an in-depth look at a successful personal brand, and to consider the characteristics that make it unique.
In our personal branding case study on Gary Vaynerchuk we reviewed how Vaynerchuk built a strong personal brand that supports his professional goals. Analyzing his brand in terms of the characteristics that make it unique and successful offers tangible examples of attributes you can consider in the development of your own personal brand.
Below is a breakdown of some of the key personal branding attributes that have helped to make Vaynerchuk’s brand such a success.
Vaynerchuk made approachability a key attribute of his personal brand. This is reflected in his approach to social media, as he consistently responds to fans despite having millions of social media followers, and posts frequent videos of him giving fans he meets the opportunity to ask him questions. The content Vaynerchuk shares, how he carries himself in public, and the way he engages with fans give his personal brand an approachable quality that adds to its appeal.
Transparency is a key theme in Vaynerchuk’s brand storytelling. He has been open and honest since day one in his personal brand development, with notable instances of transparency including sharing the story of how he grew his family’s wine and liquor store business to a multi-million dollar success story, and publicly owning his failures, like missed investment opportunities and failed investments. Telling these stories and sharing advice based on his unique experiences and lessons learned gives Vaynerchuk’s brand an open and honest attribute that fans appreciate.
Vaynerchuk’s “no excuses” approach to business and personal growth has made him a hit with his audience across his personal brand platforms. People can relate to his inspirational story as someone who was able to come from a humble beginning to help grow his family’s business, replicate that business success with the growth of his marketing agency VaynerMedia, and his evolution into one of the world’s most notable influencers and motivational speakers on entrepreneurship.
The “anyone can do it” and “work harder” messages that are underlying in Vaynerchuk’s brand narrative make his brand an inspirational one in which he exemplifies a strong work ethic, and encourages that same for his fans.
Many thought leaders aim to present themselves as innovative in order to give their niche audiences advice, and to stay up on the latest trends in their respective industries. Innovation and forward thinking are significant attributes of Vaynerchuk’s personal brand, as he stays up on the latest trends in marketing, entrepreneurship, and business.
Examples of innovation being a consistent theme in Vaynerchuk’s personal brand include:
Vaynechuk exemplifies how being innovative and consistently learning in your industry can give your personal brand a reputation for forward thinking.
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Personal brand attributes are the unique characteristics that make up what your personal brand stands for, and the qualities that people associate you with as your personal brand grows. This blog post answers the common question “what are personal brand attributes?” by explaining important attributes that you should include in your personal brand, as well as discussing additional examples you can consider and emulate as you determine your own personal brand attributes.
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