PERSONAL DATING BRAND
How to brand yourself for dating success
What do Lady Gaga, Sarina Williams and Will Smith have in common?
Apart from being high profile individuals, they all have clearly defined personal brands. Love them or loathe them, you probably have an opinion about each of these people. They know who they are and they are forthright in communicating their messages to the world.
Personal branding has become a popular area of focus in our careers and business life, but what about our dating life? There is a fantastic opportunity here to learn from (some) celebrities and high-profile business people and apply this to the way we operate in our personal lives.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL BRAND?
Your brand is made up of two components:
1. The way to present yourself to the world.
2. The way others perceive you.
Whilst you have no control over how people perceive you, you certainly can have influence over the way you look, act, communicate and behave in your dating life.
Whether we chose to or not, we are constantly communicating our brand to the world. When this is an unconscious thing, we can be unaware of the messages that we are sending or the way others are perceiving us. This can be potentially disastrous on a date. With a big dose of self-awareness and these two simple steps, you can become conscious about your brand and have more influence over the way others see you.
1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND
It’s important to become very clear about who you are. A simple way to define and remember, the essence of your personal brand is to apply this 3-word formula:
I. First word is your highest value, e.g. honesty
II. Second word is your lifestyle preference, e.g. adventurous
III. Third word is your personality style, e.g. outgoing
Let’s apply this to Lady Gaga. She may have a 3-word brand that looks something like this: equality, busy, spontaneous. Sarina Williams may be something like: health, active, assertive.
To apply this formula to yourself, use these questions as a guide:
‘PERSONAL BRAND IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM.’ - Jeff bezos, founder, amazon.com
• Value – what is the most important thing to you in the world? If this thing was missing, life would be meaningless. This is the thing that defines who you are and underpins everything you do in life.
• Lifestyle – how would you describe the way you like to live? Are you a home-body, a world traveller, a hard-worker?
• Personality – what type of personality do you have? Are you outgoing, shy, friendly, funny? Be sure to choose a word that reflects your strengths rather than weaknesses.
2. COMMUNICATE YOUR BRAND
Once you are clear on the definition of your personal brand, there are three key ways to communicate this to the dating world.
Your online profiles and social media accounts are the perfect places to reflect
your 3-word brand. Find a way to weave your 3 words into your profile and notice what happens. You can also align your emails and instant messaging with your brand to ensure you are sending consistent messages.
When speaking with dates on the phone and in person, remember who you are and the way you want to be perceived. It’s a good idea to think about a story from your life that demonstrates each of your 3 words. If you can tell each of these stories on a date, you’ll be confident that you have shown the best version of yourself.
This one is a bit harder to manage as most of our non-verbal communication happens unconsciously. However, with a little practice and some feedback from a trusted friend, you can start to become more aware of the messages you are sending non-verbally. Research suggests that up to 90% of our messages are communicated non-verbally so it’s important to make sure your body language is consistent with your brand. For instance, if your highest value is honesty or openness, but you are demonstrating closed or defensive body language, you may be sending inconsistent messages.
It’s a good idea to practice communicating your 3-word brand in ‘low stakes environments’ such as dinner with close friends or family. This way, it will be safe to make mistakes and hopefully, they will give you some honest feedback.
3. WHAT IF YOU MAKE A BRANDING BLUNDER?
We are all human and don’t always behave in consistent ways. It’s very common to make branding blunders or to do or say something that sends the wrong message. The good news is you can recover!
It’s not about the mistake you make, but how you manage the aftermath.
The best advice is to recognise in a direct and honest fashion your mistake and to show some integrity and humility.
melanie schilling is a psychologist and dating coach, regularly contributing to Channel 10, Channel 9, print and online publications. In 2014, Melanie was appointed Dating and Relationship Expert for eHarmony, Australia has worked across the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern Regions. Melanie may be contacted via her website.
90% OF OUR MESSAGE IS COMMUNICATED NON-VERBALLY