I first coined the Vision Value Passion (VVP) connection back in 2011 at a speech I gave for Cambridge University. To me and, to many others in the social media sphere, the quintessential principles of personal branding begin and end with attributes – those seen by others and those inherently understood on a subconscious, emotional level. In essence, it made sense to conceptualise the core essence of the personal brand in this way.
The Vision, Value, Passion (VVP) Connection is the synergetic union of attributes that makes up brand you. To help you to better understand its power, there’s an exercise I’ve devised and used with many clients to enable them to understand and fully utilise their Vision, Value Passion (VVP) Connection. Set aside at least an hour for this, as it needs your absolute focus and attention in order to provide maximum benefits in building your brand. I promise you that it will be one of the most productive hours you’ve ever spent.
Start by considering what your vision and your purpose are in life. And, here’s where it gets clever – I want you to look at this question from both an external (the bigger picture) and an internal perspective (how you are emotionally driven to it) to clarify exactly what is it and how you feel you might best realise it. Now, think about one problem that you want to see transformed and improved in your life. What role might your vision play in solving this? On many occasions, the problem solution often turns out to be the vision itself. Your role in making it happen is your ‘purpose.’
What are your personal values, your moral boundaries, and your guiding principles? For example, honesty, integrity, sensitivity, enthusiasm, inner strength, and pride are all examples of the values we hold, both for ourselves, and for others. Take time to write down your values. Now, think carefully about where you feel your value system came from and note your conclusions down alongside your values.
One of the best methods of achieving this is through simple word association. It can take practice, but word association can be a great tool in uncovering your inner belief system. Say each of your personal values aloud and write down the first word that comes into your head when you hear it, followed by the second, and then the third. Repeat this process for each of your values and the results will surprise you. The unconscious mind holds on to those core beliefs that drive our values every day, the ones that our conscious mind has filed away. This exercise helps you to unlock your values and is incredibly powerful and cathartic.
What fascinates you most? What activities, interests, and topics put a spring in your step and have you leaping out of bed at 6am on a Sunday morning, or talking about excitedly with others? Whether it’s wine tasting, bungee-jumping, music, theatre, or ice-hockey, write down all the things you are passionate about. Now consider how your passions connect to the things you do best. Look at your personal statement and see how it ties in with your passions and interests. Every connection you come to see and understand is another brush-stroke in the portrait of brand you.
Charging your brand with emotional equity
Remember that the emotional brain is far more powerful than the logical brain — we remember how people make us feel far more than we remember their actions. It’s the feeling behind the doing that rules in life.
Dawn Leijon, Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University and former brand manager for Kraft, put it this way:
“Branding isn’t about logos, slogans, or advertising — those are just tools. Branding is about making people remember your organisation, service or product and what’s unique about it.”
Your brand resides in the minds, and hearts, of your customers, clients, connections, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, and can be influenced by a plethora of factors. Branding provides true social and revenue-based value in a crowded marketplace where emotions rule our purchasing decisions on a subconscious level every day.
Your brand is a promise to your customers. Its fabric is woven with your personal brand statement and should be threaded through all other aspects of your social and professional contact.
Understanding your Vision, Value, Passion (VVP) connection is seeing your personal brand fabric in all it’s multicoloured glory. My exercise will help you do so and, once you truly understand it’s pattern, you’ll be ready to step onto the social media runway and make a real impact.