Personal Brand Diagnostics 1: External feedback

Views reasons to manage (or not) our personal brand, we move on to the first phase of personal brand diagnosis, The external feedback. To do this I have asked a great specialist for help, Naomi Vico, co-author of the book Smart Feedback (Lid Editorial, 2018).

This journey follows the methodology of the Personal Brand Iceberg, whose three great pillars are:

  • Self: the complete diagnosis of our personal brand to know where we are.
  • Personal Strategy: the brand plan, value proposition and business model to know where we can go.
  • Visibility: The personal communication plan to know how we can get there and if we're coming.

If you're short on time, I invite you to watch this video-summary:

Johari's window and feedback

Johari's window is a cognitive psychology technique that helps us better understand our relationship with ourselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955, and is mainly used as a research and self-analysis exercise, both in personal and corporate environments.

It consists of four windows or quadrants:

johari window

  • Free or open area: These are traits that both oneself and others perceive from us.
  • Blind area: represent what others perceive but we don't.
  • Hidden or secret area: They are aspects of oneself that others do not know.
  • Unknown area: treats behaviors or motives that we do not recognize or recognize of ourselves.

To solve the riddle of the 2nd Quadrant (know what others perceive from us) there are two formulas. A face-to-face with a group that adds adjectives to the quadrant. And another remotely asking our nearest circle. Both consider asking for feedback, while the face-to-face way may be somewhat more engaged.

Why it's important to ask for external feedback?

I've covered the topic on two previous occasions on this blog, In The things we don't say to each other (we need feedback) and in Want to know what your personal brand is? Ask for feedback.

And the answer to the question is threefold:

  • To get to know each other better. Self-awareness in its purest form.
  • To improve. Knowing our Weaknesses we have the ability to decide which are limiting and which are not, and create an improvement action plan.
  • To take advantage of the best in us. Knowing our Strengths we can develop our value proposition, our eligibility factor.

The best way to ask for external feedback from our personal brand, according to Naomi Vico

Meet you Naomi, in case you don't know her: People connector, is one of the reference coaches in Spain, personal brand expert, and also in processes of change. It is the alma mater of Start your Brand, a place with mandatory subscription blog. And besides,, I remember Naomi is co-author of the book Smart Feedback together with Jane and Rosa Rodríguez del Tronco. Here's your proposal on the best way to ask for external feedback from our personal brand:

External feedback is essential to have a complete view of who we are and thus to adjust our strategies in a way that is more landed to reality. In addition, we can consider it a gift as it is not always easy to find the exact words that help someone continue to grow and avoid value judgments. To help precisely make information as constructive and useful as possible we have several ways:

Informal feedback requested from people close to us

In this case, we usually recommend guiding the conversation a little bit through specific questions, request it voluntarily, leave time for reflection to the person who is going to provide it to us and, above all, thank you in advance for the useful information you can provide us with. A very useful exercise in this case is that of Public Identity where we ask in writing from different people (it's ideal to mix several circles) 3 strengths and 3 areas of improvement, all associated with concrete examples to avoid falling into value judgments and encourage understanding of the exact behavior so that we can improve it if we deem it appropriate.

How can we turn this external feedback into a concrete value proposition? I propose the next triple exercise:

Exercise feedback Naomi Vico
Source: Naomi Vico
  1. Self-observation. Make a list of your 3 main strengths. You can also include tangible and intangible resources that you have.
  2. Formal or informal external feedback. Look for external feedback to complement them . If you want you can also use this free online tool based on the work of the psychologist Martin Seligman and his strength-based development team: Via Personal Strengths Test (Pennsylvania University)
  3. Reflection. Make your VRIO Analysis Matrix (this is an adaptation of the original for your personal brand, Marcos Alvarez he tells it very well in his book Retail Thinking):
    1. Valuable (Ⅴ): does this quality add value and make the most of market opportunities?
    2. Strange (R): is this quality within reach of a few or is it something available to all?
    3. Inimitable (Ⅰ): is this quality difficult to imitate?, would it be difficult or costly for a competitor to get this quality?
    4. Organized (Or): Am I organized to exploit this quality by 100%?
    5. Competitive advantage (Vc): once we have reviewed all of the above we will be able to classify all our qualities and assess to what extent they may or may not be competitive advantages. We'll have unsused resources (Weakness); valuable but not rare resources (Risk); valuable and rare but imitable (temporary competitive advantage); Valuable, Rare, difficult to imitate but we don't make the most of them (potential competitive advantage) and valuable, inimitable and exploitable rare (sustainable long-term competitive advantage).

And who do we ask for feedback?

To have a more complete view of our weaknesses and strengths it's a good not to focus on a single type of feedback "donors".

Our circle consists of several interest groups or stakeholders:

  • Family. They can give us a Feedback very values-based
  • friends: Your Feedback will focus more on stereotypes (the friend, the magician, the jester...)
  • Fellow students: They'll give us a Feedback very complete
  • Workmates: Here they will focus the Feedback in competitions
  • Customers, Suppliers, Collaborators: They'll give us a Feedback something more skewed to the role we've played, but very positive
  • Followers: You can add this group, online followers or social media contacts, if you want to create a broad foundation. The Feedback will be skewed into networked behavior that (Unfortunately) often doesn't correspond to the real.

Channels to apply for Feedback

There are multiple formats to order Feedback. According to the original experiment in Johari's window, it was a group meeting where attendees were placing adjectives in each of a person's quadrants. And then they say that design thinking is something new (In 1955 work was already under work in strategic format, with the customer at the center, grouped and paper-labeled).

But to be practical and have the best-ordered information, I would use digital channels:

  • Email or Messaging Services like Whatsapp / Telegram / Messenger: are practical and universal, but they don't preserve anonymity, so the "donor" of Feedback outside may obscure or nuance information.
  • Direct social media surveys: Both Twitter and Instagram Stories allow you to ask questions, but always of A/B dichotomous response, without too much chance of spreading in the text or privacy of the answer.
  • Google Forms: A very suitable format (Free) that allows some options to customize colors, Funds, Fonts, allows multiple response formats (single box, multi-response, numerical vote with linear scale), and even allows you to assign scores to questions and enable automatic evaluation. Of course, allows total privacy. The company version includes other features.
  • Survey Monkey. An app format Freemium, whose free version we can enjoy features similar to Google Forms, also with privacy responses. Perhaps as an advantage it has a very suitable graphical interface for smartphone.

Stock Photos from Tasty_Cat / Shutterstock

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