What is a Persona of Impact? It’s a personality-based style of communication that goes beyond the universal basics, built specifically on who you are and your distinct personal qualities. It’s great to become as polished and professional as possible in your media presentations. However, if you don’t also create your own individual appeal, your audience will have difficulty truly bonding with you as a person. That, in turn, will limit your overall influence as a MediaMaster, causing you to be acceptable – but forgettable.
No matter what you think of Donald Trump, remember that, as he faced the first 2016 state primaries, he was running against 16 other Republican candidates. It was one of the biggest fields ever put forward by the party, but Trump easily dominated from the start simply because he was not like anyone else. More importantly, he was very comfortable being himself. You may argue over who was the most qualified candidate – but you can’t argue over who was the most memorable candidate.
So how do you craft your own Persona of Impact? How do you tap into the special qualities that make you unique – and then leverage them to increase your MediaMaster® magnetism?
How to Create Your Persona of Impact
Generally, a Persona of Impact develops over time through a process of trial and error. But to help you jumpstart your development, we’re going to share a five-step process created by leadership experts Norm Smallwood and Dave Ulrich (and modified by us) that will help you build a strong, authentic, focused and engaging personal brand that will add incredible value to your persona.
Action Step #1: Work backwards from your goals
What do you want to achieve with your Persona of Impact in the next few years?
Do you want to become well-known? If you’re already well-known, do you want to attract a certain kind of client or customer that you haven’t been able to convert in the past? Do you just want to be seen as more of an influencer in your field? The answer will guide you in creating your Persona of Impact personal brand.
For example, if you are just looking for name recognition, you may want to do something clever to get your name in front of the public. Of course, if your big goal is to become a thought leader in your profession, then you would be aiming to produce strongly-branded content, such as a book or series of videos, that demonstrates your expertise, and then find ways to get that content in front of the eyes of potential clients.
Whatever your current big objective, write it down now and continue with the next four steps in this process.
Action Step #2: Determine which qualities you want to be known for.
It can be frustrating when certain positive qualities you or your business possess somehow get lost in the shuffle in terms of the public’s perception of you. This step allows you to take another crack at making your overlooked advantages an integral part of your Persona of Impact.
First, come up with three descriptors of the main positive qualities that people already ascribe to you – and then come up with three positives you’d like to see emphasized in your personal brand.
For example, let’s say people already perceive these important qualities in your brand:
But maybe you also want them to see these three attributes:
Think hard about your two lists of three and write them down – then move on to the next step.
Action Step #3: Define Your Persona
The next step is to combine these six words into three two-word phrases that reflect your desired persona. You’ll end up with three new powerful concepts that can help define your Persona of Impact. By linking qualities you’re already known for to qualities you want to be known for, you’re creating a foundation of credibility to improve your personal brand.
For example, perhaps you might put together the two three-word lists we offered in Action Step 2 to create the following three combinations:
- The Independent Authority (i.e., you know a lot, but you’re not compromised by corporate partnerships)
- The Hard-Working Innovator (i.e., you’re creative and out-of-the-box, but not flaky or unreliable)
- The Friendly Professional (i.e., you get the job done, but you’re also very relatable). In each case, you’re teaming up a known quality with an unknown quality – which validates the unknown.
Action Step #4: Create your Statement of Persona
In this step, you want to take the qualities you put together in Step 3 with the objective you named in Step 1 – then fill in the blanks of the following statement:
“I want to be known for being ______________ so that I can __________.”
For example, let’s say your objective was to be a thoughtleader® in your specific field. In that case, your Statement of Persona might read:
“I want to be known for being an independent authority, a hard-working innovator and a friendly professional in order that I can be seen as the leading expert in financial consulting in my community.”
After you craft your statement, ask yourself the following three questions to see if you need to refine it:
- Is this the personal brand that best represents who I am and what I can do?
- Does this personal brand create value in the eyes of my customers/clients and the community at large?
- Can I follow through on living up to this persona? Am I risking personal credibility?
You may need to go through some back and forth to craft the best possible Statement of Persona, until it really resonates and you feel totally comfortable with it going forward.
Action Step #5: Road Test Your Statement of Persona
When you’re happy with your Statement of Persona, it’s time to see if others are as satisfied with it as you are. What you mainly want to look for is if it indeed accurately reflects who you are and what you want to accomplish.
It’s no secret that many personal brands fail simply because they don’t deliver what they promise. Can you live up to your own Statement? Are the words you use to describe yourself and your business accurate? This is the time to find out – before the public figures it out for you.
Of course, your personal brand will continue to evolve over time – so take yourself through this process at regular intervals, say, every other year or so. A Persona of Impact is not static; it grows and changes as you and your business grow and change. Make sure it keeps up with you as you continue on your journey to success.