In this post, I explore the concept of using colours to depict one’s personal brand. I believe everyone has a colour which best represents them. My study has produced some very interesting finds, which have led to some very interesting conclusions. As I began writing this post, I very quickly realised that I would need to supplement my findings with more. I implore you to open your mind even as I try to make meaning of my discoveries. This post is applicable to anyone at any stage in the journey of personal brand discovery.
After reading through, see if you can answer the questions below:
- What would you add to my list?
- Do you agree with my list?
- How has this made you view your brand differently?
I look forward to reading your thoughts…
In colour psychology, there is a way certain colours subconsciously make you feel and react-wherever you see ‘them’.
When I initially did an internal brand audit of myself, I saw that my brand ’emitted’ or was perceived as colour orange.
Orange calls to mind, the feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, energy, flamboyance, optimism, sociability, creative flair, adventure & warmth, amongst other things (adjectives that closely describe me to a very large extent).
However, as time passed, I noticed that my brand evolved; moving on past the ‘allure’ of the colour orange, unto something with the potential to be just as ‘bright’, but now with a more professional undertone that better represents the other aspects of myself at large.
After much perambulating, I decided to observe how my skills and passions played into the mix, and if when considered, would verify my thoughts (that my brand was evolving); leading to the emergence of a new colour.
I can say it now because I am passed that stage, but it took me a very long time to finally arrive at 3 main words that described who I am; the three areas I felt were priority/my main areas of gifting (and still are, as I write this).
Those words are: Orator. Eyeonaire. Pioneer.
At face value, they may not mean much to you but concealed within each word, are the skills and passions I possess and pursue purposefully…things I truly care about.
The word ‘Orator’ spoke to the salesman in me. It spoke to my ability to entertain. It spoke to my constant need to motivate others. It also spoke to my realisation (most importantly) that my primary purpose in life is solely linked to my mouth.
The word ‘Eyeonaire’ spoke to a pain I couldn’t seem to ignore-no matter how hard I tried. It was uttered whilst questioning my inability to overlook ‘bad’ designs; to the extent that I once turned an interview into a brand consultation-to the surprise of those interviewing me. I couldn’t just sit there when they asked, “Any other questions?”, knowing fully well that their brand required a complete overhaul. I went ahead to explain how a company of their size could increase penetration levels with better identity design.
It won’t surprise you to learn that I didn’t get called back.
Coupled with this, was my realisation of how much of a pain I had become at home; always commenting on different pieces of media; explaining how colours clashed and how certain images appeared pixilated, or how a different version of a logo should have been utilised etc. These frustrations eventually led me into research which I now teach as oft as I am given the privilege.
Reading so far, one might question how any of this comes into play when deciding your colour and then your personal brand. some might even question what any of this has to do with the title.
If you actually look deeper, you will realise that I have explained how the colour orange was derived from just looking at my personality traits (the first intangible). I then explained how I went a step further, looking at my skills and passions (the second intangible). There is still one intangible more which I would love to look into briefly as I conclude on how I arrived at where I feel my brand is currently at.
The reason I have decided to explain in such depth and with such emphasis on my personal journey thus far, is so that, those keen on developing their personal brands can insightfully adapt my methodologies to start to make sense of and them hopefully take charge of their personal brand. I am where I am today because certain people decided to share deep secrets that took them years to discover. If there’s anything I am particularly grateful for, it is the manner in which those same people provided the information required to help me-FREE of charge. And so, I do the same…
As I conclude, the final realm I probed that helped me arrive at my current ‘colour’ and phase of my personal brand was my values. This stage was particularly tricky, for the sole reason that, I found myself putting words forward that sounded ‘big’ or ‘good’ but weren’t really me. I had to practise an extremely hard skill-the skill of listening whilst I talk.
I was able to do this via two mechanisms of sort.
One, I had to play out my vocabulary mentally, taking a ‘back seat’ to sound out words I kept saying without realising. I felt like these words emanated from my heart for a reason. One of such words was ‘Excellence’. I found that in multiple conversations, with different people, in different contexts, I would often use the word “Excellence.” so, my first value was penned down.
Two, I had to ask those close to me, at different times, what they felt I stood for. The answers were quite surprisingly the same.
In one way or another, those values can be described as: Excellence. Trust. Passion. Power.
What started off as my quest to find a colour that better suited where I felt I was at in my journey, ended up as a documentation of my path to unearthing a new colour and therefore, the next phase of my personal brand.
One of the take homes for me throughout this on-going process is that my brand has metamorphosed from an orange to an aqua like blue (hex code: 2BC8E4). But not only that, now also; a charcoal (hex code:14141B), a beige (hex code:46484D), grey (hex code:BEB9B4), cream (hex code:E1DFDD) and white (hex code:FFFFFF).
Personality traits, skills & passions and values were the three intangibles I considered which helped me realise what I am about in more detail and how they can be expressed more visibly. This process has definitely increased my focus but has also sadly meant that some other skills, passions and hobbies that I thought I was good at/liked, have taken the back seat on my journey to fulfilling purpose.
There is the wisdom in knowing the brand architecture. There is the knowledge required to apply the brand principles. Then there is the application of the brand design.
This part has spoken specifically to the wisdom in knowing the brand. In subsequent posts, I hope to be able to speak to the knowledge required to apply the brand and the actual implementation of one’s brand.
I am curious as to how my brand will evolve in the future. I also wonder how long my current brand will last. As with the ‘orange phase’, I didn’t think change was going to happen in the manner it has done. Because it’s a truer representation of where I am, it points to the fact that I have grown. And growth, especially when positive, is always a good sign.
By Joshua Komolafe (CEO JFConsult Group)