The way I see it if we were encouraged to express who we truly are, we'd all be very loving beings, each bringing our uniqueness to the world.
-- Anita Moorjani
Personal branding has become such a hot topic in today's business world. A quick search on Amazon yields over 2,800 results. So, why is personal branding so important? Changes in the economy and the flattening of the world really drive home Tom Peters quote: "We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You." I've been conducting personal branding workshops and providing strategy sessions for over 3 years for both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs looking to differentiate themselves and make a difference.
The topic seems to have taken on even greater importance in the business world since when I started out with offering programs. I continually look to expand my horizon and better serve my clients. As a result, I purchased the book by Kim Garst called Will the Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper in Social Media. The book was a great read in that it really called entrepreneurs and leaders to let authenticity, purpose and passion guide both their personal and corporate branding efforts. She discussed how the traditional marketing approaches for companies have really shifted over from push to pull marketing. Customers don't want to constantly be sold to, but want to build relationships with the brand.
Now how does this translate over into the personal branding arena? I see a lot of people tackling building their personal brand using the same traditional marketing techniques used to sell products and services. Such as:
- Promoting themselves continually and their great accomplishments.
- Creating a persona instead of showing who they truly are.
- Talking a good talk, but not walking a good walk. (You meet them in person and are sorely disappointed...)
- Jumping on one bandwagon to the next, i.e. are always going through a rebrand.
- Ignoring comments on social media (good or bad), making them seem very unapproachable.
They might have chosen to follow the so-called experts and come from an authority or celebrity branding position. The authority and celebrity branding days are starting to dwindle down though. People want to experience the real you with all your passions, quirks, oddities, and missions.
How can you find your way back to expressing who you truly are in your personal brand? Here are some questions to guide you:
- What are my core values? This means what principles guide me in my beliefs and actions? If you don't allow these to drive you, you're going against who you are.
- What do I stand for? What causes are important to me? What moves me to tears? What makes me want to go out into the world and do something about it?
- What one thing do I want to accomplish before I leave this planet? This isn't about what others will say about you at your funeral, but what you want to have completed.
- What brings me joy? What am I doing when I lose track of all time?
- How can I best serve others? What are my greatest gifts that could make an impact in this world?
The key then is to start living out the answers to these questions in your daily life and allowing your personal brand to percolate as a result. Some tips to also make your personal brand take hold:
- Be approachable. People no longer value barriers to a brand they support. They want connection.
- Focus on developing relationships. It's not about a quick transaction, but creating a long-term interaction.
- Shift from Me to We. Leaders with strong personal brands understand that a servant leadership approach is the way to go.
I'm looking forward to seeing you express your uniqueness in the world. For more information on how I can help you get clarity on creating your own personal legend through your personal brand, click here.