Download a PDF copy of the canvas here and print it out in A1 format (minimum). You could also choose A2, but A1 is perfect. An A1 prints cost about €3 or €4 in any local copy shop (take the Canvas PDF on a USB stick or email it to them). Bulk copies should cost much less. Hang the Canvas on a wall with masking tape – any white painted wall in your house will do!
Then work on it with Post.It® notes (eg 38 mm x 50 mm or 51 mm x 51 mm) using marker or felt tip pens: children’s markers work well!
The process we recommend, inspired by the BigName method, consists of four main steps:
To complete the first step, you need to describe your current Personal Branding strategy. If you do not have a strategy yet, then start by placing information in the circle and specify the Audience you want to reach. Answer the questions written in each of the blocks and use the categories to help you come up with the most productive answers.
Without putting too much thought into it, write, in capitals, no more than 1-3 words on each Post-it®. Complete the blocks using the sequence described below.
At this point you need to stop and think. Ask yourself the following questions:
Why’s your current Personal Branding strategy not working?
What opportunities can you grab? Which blocks clearly lack information?
Which groups of people could you add to the Audience block?
Are you maximising your visibility (Communication)?
Is you differentiation clear and effective (Positioning)?
The answers to the questions above will help you innovate your Personal Branding strategy. Do this by, for example, changing Positioning or investing in an initiative that will ensure your Communication is more effective and in line with the information you put in the circle.
You may be tempted stop at this point and want to start to implementing the ideas you’ve generated. Instead, we suggest you wait. You should test the effectiveness of your ideas in a safe environment first so you can be sure your new Positioning is genuinely credible. A great way to do this is to tell someone the story that emerges from the Canvas and see how they react to it. Do they your story credible and convincing? If not, go back to step 2 and rethink your answers to the questions.
How did the validation step go? Do you think you need to develop your ideas? If you got positive feedback, then you can activate your strategy. Describe the steps you need to take in the Investments block and implement them one by one: This is your Personal Branding plan!
The Canvas model is dynamic. To keep it effective requires constant experimentation and learning. Do not worry if initially you get negative feedbacks, or if results are slow in coming. Branding, like Rome, cannot be built in a single day!
- A tip for Post-It® notes: do make lists and write one to three words on each note.
- Even though one question may have lots of responses, use a single for each of them
- Don’t worry about using too many sticky notes or putting them into the wrong block! It will be very easy to move or get rid of them.
- Write clearly: this will help you very much to share the process with others or to remember what you wrote after a few days.
Ideal sequence and 3 sections
During our tests and practice we discovered that the ideal sequence for assessing the current state of your Brand is as follows:
(who do you want to influence?)
1. Audience and competitors
(who are you and what do you promise?)
4.Reasons to Believe
5. Offering and arena
(how are you different and how do you let them know about you?)
Return on investment
(how efficient are you?)
What You Can Do
What abilities, contacts and skills do you have?
Don’t be afraid to boast!
Who you are
What makes you unique, makes you successful.
Why You Are Credible
Reasons to believe
People don’t believe in fairytales anymore, they also want facts.
Show they can trust you!
What you give
Your services, but also your talents, soft & hard skills.
Whatever produces value!
Who Needs To Know
Customers, influencers and their communities…
They are the real stars!
People sign for your Offering when they get your value.
What’s in it for them?
What is the distinctive element that makes you different and appealing?
How They Know You
If they don’t know you then you don’t exist.
Raise your voice!
What You Get
Visibility, respect, distinction, market share, advocacy, etc.
It’s your reward for it!
What You Need
Branding needs action, money, time and resources.
Let’s get practical!