Personal branding is the first step to creating a seamless and consistent foundation upon which to share one’s story and mission with judges. “Branding, for an individual, is the way you want to be identified and how you would like to be perceived,” said Allison Kreiger Walsh of McKenna Walsh Coaching and Professional Management, Miss Florida 2006. “It is what makes you stand out from the rest and celebrates the uniqueness within each of us.”
Once you figure out the common thread you’d like to weave throughout your competition, Allison recommends going public. Create a website or blog on which you could share your story, your beliefs, and your platform. Also, make it known to media sources that you are available for interviews. “It will immediately add credibility to your brand,” Allison said. “If people see you as the expert, they will look to you as an important source of information, whether it be for your personal brand or in business.”
Narrow Your Areas of Interest
In their effort to be well-rounded, many young women today have a hard time narrowing down their areas of interest. While it is important to be relatable on many levels as a Miss America contestant, Allison warns against hindering personal development by having too many irons in the fire: “I always say you don't want to be a Jack of all trades and a master at none.” Instead, dig deep to find who you really are, and refine that to achieve consistency. “Your brand can make all the sense in the world to you,” she said, “but if you are not projecting it properly, it will get lost.”
Live Your Brand
Jennifer McKenna, Allison’s partner at McKenna Walsh Coaching and Miss Virginia 2002, says it is because she incorporates her brand into every aspects of life, from pageantry to family to business, that she is more recognizable. It could also help an individual stay focused on who and what she truly is. “It allows you to develop a strong sense of self so that you can clearly and articulately describe not only who you are, but also portray that same message through your actions and affiliations,” Jennifer said.
Focusing on your brand will not limit your potential, but help to advance your opportunities, Allison said. “When I really focused my branding efforts in a certain area, so many doors opened. I had managed to create a strong brand for myself that was recognizable in the arena that I wanted to be involved in.”
Read more about branding and McKenna Walsh Coaching in the December/January 2012-13 issue of fourpoints!
Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer.