As I write from my kitchen table this morning, I am in such a good mood (shocker)…birds are chirping, the sun is shining, summer is definitely pressing through and this New Englander is definitely looking forward to it! I hope you’ve got a few things that have you in just as great a mood or even better than mine today.
So, it is finally time….we are going to shift gears from our living fabulously fierce factors to kicking into the personal branding process based on a model that I’ve established. This model is what I use to coach folks during one on one sessions and in delivering workshops. My curriculum is used to facilitate dialogue, increase awareness and build accountability within groups. Usually, my challenge is that because I am so passionate about this topic and the process of personal brand building, I always feel slighted on time because I could literally talk about this 24/7…no really! Here however we’ll get to go at a steady pace that really allows us to break all of this down together. To really make the most of this, what I will stress is that just as with anything else, what you put into this is what you’ll get out of it.
While there are absolutely no prerequisites here, as there will be regular “assignments” and challenges, I do have three things to ask of you:
- Get a journal/notebook that you can use for you “Personal Brand Building Journey”. If you’d rather just type it up somewhere and save it, totally fine.
- Commit to the process. Slate one hour a week to work on your personal brand, leveraging what we go through here and actually do the work. Consider it your investment in you.
- Bring someone along. Tell a friend about what we’re engaging in together here and ask them to join you by following the blog and both of you connecting once a week to discuss.
- ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK QUESTIONS. The personal branding process is not difficult at all, but it requires time and a willingness to raise your hand to dig deeper on different aspects. Shoot me your dig deeper questions and I’ll absolutely address them. Think about it, if you have the question, I’m sure at least, at least, five others do too. Do them a favor and be the brave one, the distinct one, and ask the question.
Cool? Cool! Ready….set….let’s brand!
So, really simple point to address this week…..What is personal branding?
Often times when people hear this question, immediately they think of celebrities and creating a package to present to the world, maybe even an image that may not necessarily be authentic but that is created to meet a perceived need. To be clear, let’s start by taking it to the basics…..what is a brand?
We know Nike, Starbucks, Target, Tahari, The Cheesecake Factory, Burberry, Dunkin’ Donuts….I could keep going, but essentially, these are all brands representing products that, whether we favor them or not, they have a place in our minds around what they are and what they stand for…for us. I really like Chernatony and McDonal’s definition of what a brand is:
An identifiable product, augmented in such a way that the “buyer” perceives relevant, unique added values which match stated needs most closely.
This points out two key things about any brand:
- It has to be identifiable
- It has to be augmented, positioned stand out if you will, in a way that the buyer feels like that brand meets her needs better than any other brand out there.
Soooooo, can’t this be transferred to a persona brand? Um yuppers!
PAUSE: Please note, I’m NOT equating us to products….YOU ARE NOT TO LOOK AT YOURSELF AS A PRODUCT! What we are all to do though is own how we are identified, how much we stand out from the rest, and what needs we’re interested in meeting in this world, and do that as best we can, better than any others who can do exactly what we can do. That’s all!
So, the Bernier definition of a personal brand is:
The reputation of an individual that keeps them top of mind for those in their networks and positions them as the main point of influence as it relates to any area of expertise in which they’ve built credibility!
Here are a few examples of personal brands:
- Bill Cosby-Dad, comedian and expert on the funniest things kids say
- Anderson Cooper- Diligent fact-finder with eloquent presentation skills that facilitates knowledge sharing.
- Oprah Winfrey-Wealth, power, life-long learner and committed teacher
- Beyonce Knowles-Musical powerhouse
- Michelle Obama-Fabulously fierce, brilliant, educated role-model, First Lady, wife and mother…FLOTUS
I’m already getting brand happy so I’m going to stop myself here and ask you to do a few things this week:
- Without doing any informal research, describe what you believe is your current personal brand in at least five sentences. Essentially, how do you think you’re perceived and what do you think you’re known for?
- At this stage, why is personal branding important…to YOU? What’s the value here for you?
- By the end of the personal brand building process, what do you want to have accomplished?
You are kicking things off here and I want to congratulate you for taking the first step! You’re making a commitment that a lot of us don’t make until we’ve made some significant faux pas and find ourselves in branding recovery mode. Hate to go here but remember Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams? So at this point, consider yourself a fireball, just lighting up and well on your way! Looking forward to continuing this process with you!
Soundtrack of the week: Willow Smith’s Fireball