Body of Knowledge

A 4-Point Survival Guide for Turning Personal Financial Crisis into Opportunity

The current financial crisis is driving the world into a global recession. There is no job security anymore. Especially in times of financial crisis you need to be independent, become the CEO of your life and redefine yourself in order to create and attract new creative opportunities. This can be realized successfully according to an innovative four-stage authentic personal branding model, that will be introduced in this article, based on the bestselling book “Authentic Personal Branding:  A new blueprint for building and aligning a powerful leadership brand(Information Age Publishing, USA, 2009). You can get yourself out of this crisis by re-branding and managing yourself effectively and by building, implementing and cultivating your authentic personal brand. If you are well branded, you will master the financial crisis successfully, wisely save on costs, generate new revenues and find it easier to convince others while still attracting the people and opportunities that are a perfect fit for you.

This new system will help you to actively grow and distinguish yourself as an exceptional professional. Remember what Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity“. Now is the best time to engage in a meaningful dialogue with yourself and build your personal brand in order to better master the financial crisis with your unique value proposition. This innovative personal branding approach will provide you with a roadmap to translate your genius, dreams and aspirations into manageable improvement actions.  It will help you adjust your market offerings to the different crisis needs of various customer segments. This is the time to reposition yourself strongly in relation to your competitors, build a strong reputation, develop an effective image of yourself and want you want to project; become more creative and innovative. While some individuals fight for survival, a financial crisis is an excellent opportunity for those visionary people who wish to differentiate themselves by creating a distinct identity. This makes it easier for others to remember who you are as you become known as a thriving and distinguished professional who is continuously improving.  Develop your own creative responses to this financial crisis instead of following the standard responses of individuals during a recession. Master the personal financial crisis because you have identified and leveraged anauthentic dream; respond to it with passion; know what makes you unique, special and outstanding.  Identify your genius and expand your limits based on this.  Have the faith andcourage to pursue your dream and personal brand.

Figure 1: Authentic Personal Branding Model (Rampersad, 2009)

Four Points to Master a Personal Financial Crisis

Building an authentic Personal Brand in response to the financial crisis is an evolutionary and organic process. This process consists of the following four phases, which are the building blocks of a strong authentic brand (see figure 1 above):

1) Define and formulate your Authentic Personal Ambition
This phase involves defining and formulating your Personal Ambition in an exciting and persuasive manner and making it visible. Your Personal Ambition is the soul, starting point, core intention and the guiding principles of your Personal Brand. It’s the fuel for your brand and encompasses your personal vision, mission and key roles. It is about developing your self-awareness while identifying and figuring out what your dreams are; who you are; what you stand for; what makes you unique and special; why you are different; what your values are.  Try incorporating a breathing and silence exercise. You are almost twice as likely to accomplish your brand if you write this down. Your Personal Ambition makes your Personal Brand Personal and links this to your values.

2) Define and formulate your Authentic Personal Brand
This phase involves defining and formulating an authentic, distinctive, relevant and compelling Personal Brand promise.  Use it as the focal point of your behavior and actions. First of all, perform a personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and evaluate yourself after using the breathing and silence exercise. This will also make you aware of the signs of the financial crisis in your internal and external environment.The result of SWOT analysis is the definition of your personal life style. This relates to your personal ambition and brand objectives. Your brand objectives entail what you want your Personal Brand to accomplish. You also need to determine your specialization, concentrating on a single core talent. Define your main specific services, key characteristics, and a single leading and most powerful attribute.  Finally, determine what your audience (domain) is and what their greatest needs are. Your Personal Brand Statement entails the total of your Personal Ambition, brand objectives, specialty, service dominant attribute and domain. It also includes your Unique Value Proposition. The next step in this second stage is to define your Personal Brand Story (Elevator Pitch), which is the essence of what you want to say about your Personal Brand in order to produce a positive emotional reaction. Finally you should design your Personal Logo, which is a single graphical symbol that represents your Personal Brand.

3) Formulate your Personal Balanced Scorecard (PBSC)
Personal Ambition and Personal Brand has no value unless you take action to make them a reality. Therefore the emphasis in this stage is developing an integrated and well balanced action plan based on your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand to reach your life and brand objectives and to eliminate any negative elements. It’s about translating your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand into your PBSC (action). Your PBSC entails your personal critical success factors that are related to your Personal Ambition and Brand and the corresponding objectives, performance measures, targets and prioritized improvement actions in order to master the crisis and to manage yourself effectively. It is also divided into the four perspectives: internal, external, knowledge & learning, and financial perspectives. Your PBSC translates your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand into manageable and measurable personal objectives, milestones and improvement actions in a holistic and balanced way. Your PBSC is needed to improve and manage yourself continuously based on your Personal Ambition and Brand. It’s an effective tool that you can use to manage and master yourself and to monitor your behavior and actions.

4) Implement and cultivate your Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and Personal Balanced Scorecard; Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and the PBSC have no value unless you implement them to make it a reality. Therefore the next step is to implement, maintain and cultivate your ambition, brand and PBSC effectively. You have to articulate your Personal Brand with love and passion, be committed to change and continuously improve your perceived value in the marketplace. In addition, try to build credibility and become an expert in your field. Get the word out through a variety of media channels and do work you love which is consistent with your Personal Brand and values.  Gain experience in areas of your brand in which you are weak by promoting yourself, marketing your brand frequently and consistently, making conscious choices about the people you associate with, building a strong network, delivering on your brand promise, and in short living according to your brand promise.  To guide you in this process a unique learning cycle called the Plan-Deploy-Act-Challenge cycle (PDAC cycle) has been introduced, which should be followed continuously. This is necessary to let your brand awareness grow gradually. This learning process will help you to become proactive, manage your time effectively and anticipate during any crisis.

This 4-stage model forms the key to master the financial crisis effectively. Through this approach you will also be able to make yourself and others happy on an ongoing basis.

 is the world’s leading authority on Authentic Personal Branding and Performance Management. He is president of the Personal Branding University and Business School of the Americas. He holds a PhD in Management from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and a MSc. in Robotics at Delft University of Technology. He is the prominent author of the bestselling books “Total Performance Scorecard: Redefining Management to Achieve Performance with Integrity “, “Personal Balanced Scorecard; The Way to Individual Happiness, Personal Integrity and Organizational Effectiveness “, “TPS-Lean Six Sigma; Linking Human Capital to Lean Six Sigma – A New Blueprint for Creating High Performance Companies “, and many others.

This article is based on his new book Authentic Personal Branding: A new blueprint for building and aligning a powerful leadership brand (Information Age Publishing Inc, Connecticut, USA, 2008).

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