I’ve been working really hard to guide this space towards matching my “real life”. Simultaneously, I’m rebranding my work life to be a reflection of real life as well. I spend way too many hours of my day at work to spend them being a fake version of me. I’ve got to admit, the adjustment has been a rather grueling process. Not so much on the online front but more IRL.
See, I know who I am here. I’m the Prepford Wife and I have been for a very long time. I’ve also been the Prepford Wife in the real world for just as long; it’s how this blog got its name after all. My husband and I have known each other since our third day of college and you would be hard pressed to find someone who knew us then and didn’t see us as a duo. We do a really good job of presenting a united front with clear cut goals and one view of the world. But the truth of the matter is that in doing that, I am forever part of a whole instead of a single individual. This left me with a gap in how to define myself during the work day when Marcus isn’t there.
Being apart of a pair also left me with this thought that I am forgettable when alone. I constantly reintroduce myself to people I met not long ago, assuming that they forgot my name. What I found out is that while that is courteous and helpful, I’ve sold myself short and assumed that my personal brand wasn’t strong enough to do the work of making me memorable. For someone who prides them self on self awareness, this process has been a headache and I can’t believe I let it go on for so long.
So lately I’ve been doing the work. Doing the hard emotional labor of really finding out who I am and how I want to present myself to world. I always see posts about personal branding and those post are talking strictly about online/social media presence. But this is not just that. I’m a 9-5er hoping to solidify my brand not just here but in my work life. Hopefully by doing it here, in a safe and transparent space, it frees you to do the work as well. And best of all, it’s never too early or too late for this exercise.
I started with three jumping off points based on conversations I’ve had about branding and worked to fit them authentically to me.
1) Start with what you’re known for and what you’d like to be known for
The girl with the nice shoes: Shoes break down barriers. I use to be in sales and it was one of the easiest ways to get people to talk to me. They would look down at my feet and gasp and it would break the ice to start a conversation. As an introvert, this is important to me because shoes are easy. They’re a thing that people like about me and makes people want to talk and relate.
Smile when I talk I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I smile when I talk. Its a way of disarming people and encouraging them to be on my side. Human beings mirror each other, its part of why smiling is infectious. Aside from that, smiling is apart of my personal brand which is warm. Every single person who leaves a conversation with me should feel like it was worth their time and it was like a conversational hug (not a literal one, respect for personal boundaries is also apart of my brand). I even apply this to email where I write almost exactly how I speak. Obviously not every single email I send, especially not to higher ups or strangers. But if you email me here, you can bet on getting the same kind of warmth that you’d get from me in person.
Want to be known for:
Authenticity I tend to be someone who marches to the beat of my own drum. I wear what I want, I say what I mean (within reason) and I yam, who I yam. Part of it is that, I can’t maintain lies for long. I start to trip up and forget the lie but then another part of it is a sense of integrity. Whether you meet me in the grocery store, work, on the blog, I never want you to feel like you are interfacing with a whole new person. Now do I have boundaries? Absolutely. You will never know me as well as my husband and sisters but may you never feel like you are dealing with a whole new person. And I want that to be clear to people.
Get it done We had this feedback fest at work and a friend who knows me from outside of work gave me the feedback that “there will never be a deadline that you won’t meet”. If you give me a task, a date, a deadline. I got you. I am old reliable. You can trust me to do the things. I want that to be something that is visible to others. When you set me to something, I will make sure it gets done, no matter how big or small.
2) What do you offer that is a niche no one else seems to fill
Black Prep In this space, I offer who I am and that is a black prepster. There are a few black prepsters but none that I’ve seen who are go-tos for consistent preppy lifestyle content. (Should you know some, point me in their direction).
Complex problem solver I have the ability to see a problem and solve it without even knowing it. You can spot this in yourself if you find yourself saying “Why haven’t we been doing it X way? Well if we just do Y”. I see a big problem and instantly start thinking of a response to it even if I don’t voice it aloud.
3) What’s your brand statement based on those things?
Formula: My name is X and I do Y by Z
Work: My name is Victoria and I assist teams by solving complex problems through quiet observation and rational yet creative reactions.
Blog: My name is Victoria. I’m the Prepfordwife and I run a preppy lifestyle blog devoted to sharing the consistent and authentic viewpoint of an African American prepster.
So there you have it. Simple branding statements that I will use as my guiding light both here and in my work environment. Like a life thesis statement of sorts. Tell me, do you have a brand statement for yourself and if so, what does it look like? And then what have I overlooked?
XO Prepford Wife