I awoke at 4.30 in the morning, the thought stuck and wouldn’t dislodge, was the penis sheath mans first attempt at personal branding…. If not it bloody well should have been, this is personal branding at its finest and since then… well its mostly been down hill.
Personal Branding is neither new, unique or particularly difficult, the only difference between this generation and the last is that now it is crucial. So wake up folks because if you miss this train you will slip below the waves of anonymity and rest in obscurity.
Fantastic I hear the socially timid say as it is only extroverts and narcissist’s who seek the limelight anyway. Well that may once have been true but now the game has changed and it now involves you, whether you like it or not.
Personal Branding, we all do it
Well yes and no, we all do it but most of us never give it a second thought and therein lies the problem. You see we think of branding as something companies do, not individuals, and the reason for this is we are not taught it at school, no one ever tells us that we are our brand and what we say and how we act is how we build that brand, and what it stands for will either help or hinder us as we travel on this journey called life.
So who cares
For a while Tigers brand was about his perceived behavior (integrity, trust, truth, good husband etc) and that attracted businesses that wanted to be associated with those behaviors. It wasn’t about him being the worlds best golfer, that just elevated his exposure and therefore his price, no it was about is clean cut image that made his brand so strong. And the moment that image got damaged companies no longer wanted to be associated with his new behavior.
It was a shame for tiger he didn’t represent a condom company as that would have been a great branding opportunity…. ” I may have been unfaithful but I always used protection”
So whats that got to do with me
Well it’s because of that little thing called the internet that has woven itself into the very fabric of our lives, and we love it. We share things on Facebook that a few years ago we would have found difficult sharing with friends..and thats where the problem starts. We are now building our brand for the world to see and more interestingly comment on. We have opened ourselves up to ridicule and humiliation without inviting it, other than our private lives are now public, which takes me back to….
We are not taught branding at school
Don’t get me wrong I am in no way a fan of institutionalised knowledge ( I can’t understand how you can make a degree out of communication, as it just starts with a conversation (thanks Orlando), but I digress. So what can you do to understand what your brand is and what it stands for….Hint what you do for a job is not your brand so don’t say I am a carpenter or a doctor, tell people what kind of carpenter or doctor you are. I am a carpenter who loves and respects the value and beauty of trees, and when I make you something from wood that value and beauty will translate into an object you will both desire and cherish.
Now you have a brand that tells a story that I can relate to…. you respect the material, I won’t just use it I will cherish it, and underlying that story is, you are a craftsman and you are giving me something of great value.
Personal brand is not a clever catch phrase, it is a behavior and it should represent who you are and what you stand for at that point in time, not what you want to be in the future. Which brings us to the inevitable problem…
Changing your brand
So for a while you were a singer in a rock band and have had so many tales told about your exploits ( some true others not ), which was great at the time as it enhanced your brand and made you desirable to your fans. But now you have given up your rock n roll lifestyle and you want to become a reputable businessman. So herein lies the problem how do you keep your credibility and reinvent your brand. Its easy….
You tell the truth
Its out there anyway so why not use your past to strengthen your position. Its as old as the poacher turned game keeper. What gives you the authority to brand yourself now as a business strategist is your past rock n roll experiences. You can stand in front of hostile crowds and turn them round to loving you, you understand about marketing and what really works and doesn’t ( they don’t teach you about double booked gigs at university). You have had to negotiate with club owners who refused to pay you after the gig. The times you had to arrange tours and record deals for the band. The list goes on but as you tell your story your new brand grows and more importantly people believe you because its true.
So taking your life’s past stories and presenting them in a new way gives your new brand its credibility. Sure you will loose some fans along the way ( I remember when Dylan went electric ) but those people don’t matter as they are no longer important to your new brand. But I feel you getting tied now and some of you are asking…
What’s the point
I don’t need to brand myself as anything, I have a good job a great reputation and friends and family that love me, why should I bother. Well just for a moment think, what if you were to lose that secure job for life and you had to move to another part of the country away from friends and family to take up a new position, or positively you get a promotion in a new country, then how do you show people who you are. Don’t worry they will find out, Google LinkedIn, groups, it doesn’t matter how, they will learn about you with or without your permission and what they find is your brand. Wouldn’t it be best that you refined it before rather than after the event and wouldn’t it be best that you control the message, which brings me back to where I came in and the penis sheath.
Who wants to turn up to the annual inter-village dance only to realise you are the only one not wearing one.
It’s not to late to start.