We are thrilled to welcome Suzanne Tulien, CEO and Brand Clarity Expert of Brand Ascension. For 28 years, Suzanne has been passionately serving clients through strategic, internal brand development and experiential training and aligning it with powerful visual communication pieces and corporate identity solutions. As the author and co-pioneer of Brand DNA: Uncover Your Organization’s Genetic Code for Competitive Advantage, she has helped countless organizations pave the way for business growth by conscious, strategic design.
In today’s post, she poses a challenging question: Do you OWN your personal brand?
Just to be clear, this isn’t an article discussing the legal ownership issues of your own personal brand, or anyone else’s.
I want to stir up some conversation about your ‘Psychological Ownership’ of the personal brand you portray. And with that comes the obvious question: “Are you even aware of your current Personal Brand, and ultimately, are you consciously in control of it?
I heard this term, ‘Psychological Ownership’ the other day in a presentation about organizational employee engagement. I immediately made a note to research the source a bit more as I sensed it has great implications in my world of business and personal brand work. In the research I found there were three distinct areas where Psychological Ownership emerges:
1. Control – “that over which I exercise control becomes a part of my sense of self.”
2. Intimate knowledge – “the more we know something the more likely we are to feel it belongs to us.”
3. Self-investment – “by expending energy and time in something we begin to feel greater ownership.”
I love this breakdown of areas Psychological Ownership shows up because these capacities truly hone in on the connection between successful personal brands and mediocre ones. I want to expand on these emerging indicators a bit, and massage them into the context of personal branding.
Personal Brand Control: From the filter I see through (brand development), ‘control’ is the epitome of brand management. Having this sense or desire to control the perceptions one creates of oneself is catamount to the success of the brand shaping itself into a specifically intended experience. You cannot control what you do not know, and personal branding is a conscious, strategic, and deliberate process to bring about a certain way of being and sustaining it through controlled awareness.
EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is another concept that is highly related to personal brand development, and higher EQ abilities aid in the undertaking of effectively managing your personal brand. I would also suspect that high levels of EQ are apparent in those who have the tendencies to take on deeper ‘ownership’ levels within their surroundings – be it work, friends, family, or themselves.
Intimate Knowledge of YOU: I experience this happening to each of my one-on-one coaching and mastermind group students. As they begin the deep dive into identifying and defining who they are they become more attached to it, resonate with it, and generate a deeper emotional connection to themselves through this discovery work. Ownership is fostered through discovery, attachment, and the ability to take control over who they are and in leveraging it more and more. I like relating this self-discovery experience to a process of ‘falling back in love with yourself” as it promotes internal synergy and the ability to align everyday choices with who you are.
Self-Investment of our own personal brand deepens organically as we spend more time identifying and defining our specific attributes; brand style, brand values, and what makes us exquisitely different from others. When we invest the time towards self-actualization we uncover information about ourselves that can be recognized, embraced and leveraged to further up-level our experience and the journey so many of us want to undertake to find our soul purpose and live it.
Too many of us are living our lives being ‘externally impacted’ – a reactive mode we get into when life becomes overwhelming, or we lose direction, inspiration, and motivation to take control of our lives, and put the stake in the ground to become more fulfilled. The internal process of Personal Branding helps to shift us from being so ‘externally impacted’ to becoming more ‘internally driven’ by our own way of being. This happens naturally out of the process of becoming more clear on who we are. Clarity is truly the basis for action.
In closing, I want to remind you that each and every one of us ALREADY has a personal brand. The issue is that most of us are not in CONTROL of it from a standpoint of being conscious, strategic, and deliberate in our actions and behaviors to perpetuate who we are at our core, and thus become highly internally driven to self-actualize into what we were meant to become.
I truly believe we all have a specific purpose on this planet to find our purpose and fully live it (as Buddah says). But we have to stop, slow down, reflect, and decide to commit to identifying and defining what that means for us.
Enjoy the journey!
Suzanne Tulien is the founder of Brand Ascension, a multi-faceted, experiential branding firm. As a Brand Clarity Expert, she partners with organizations who want to achieve transformational and sustainable brand success from the INSIDE OUT and guides them to identify, define, and align to on-brand experiences that engage and inspire customers, employees, and stakeholders to believe in and advocate for the brand.