Branding — This time it’s personal.
The script is all too familiar.
Repeated again and again at every networking event.
One by one, around the room, you’re asked to introduce yourself.
“Hi, my name is so-and-so and I am currently the abc of xyz,” you say.
But what happens when you move on?
Are let go? Are no longer abc of xyz?
Who are you then?
Just a “From 10/18–9/22??”
Every day — we define ourselves by what we do or what we’ve done.
As marketing guru Simon Sinek says –
Many of us know what we do.
We are a Marketer or a Creative Director.
Some of us know how we do it.
We are hard-workers. We are team players.
We are highly responsible.
We Get Shit Done.
But how many of us know WHY we do it.
WHY is the essence of a brand. Be it a business. Or personal
Resumes, CVs and yes, even LinkedIn Profiles, are a rearview mirror to what you’ve done in the past.
Your history. But not your whole story.
Too often we seek to build our resumes, when we should be building our PERSONAL brands
Personal branding is not about self-promotion, bragging, chest-pounding, attention-seeking or Me, Me, Me.
It’s about telling others exactly what you stand for.
And how you stand apart from others.
It’s the best way to define and differentiate yourself from every other Marketer, Strategist, Creative Director.
It prevents you from becoming a ME TOO.
Your personal brand is a lifelong investment that’s not tied to any one job or title.
And whether you’re changing jobs or shifting careers, the strength of that brand will determine how well you transition and how in demand you are.
So how do you craft a personal brand?
#1: Be Authentic
As Oscar Wilde once said: Be yourself — everyone else is taken.
Pretending you are someone you are not — assuming an identity that is artificial and packaged — is exhausting. Being authentic may seem hard, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun being true to you, win or lose.
#2: Live Your Passion
Your brand should be a reflection not just of who you are — but what you believe. What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What makes you tick?
If you’re genuinely passionate and excited about what you are doing –it’s an instant magnet to others.
People don’t buy what you do…they buy WHY you do it.
#3: Make Your Point Of View Your Point Of Difference
We live in a world of Likes, Hearts and Followers. Having a strong opinion — expressing your aspirations, hopes, frustrations and dreams — lets others know who you are with confidence and conviction.
Don’t try to be all things to all people. What offends some will be a call to action to others and will stir up a memorable emotional response. And create believers. When people believe what you believe they will go to extraordinary lengths to be part of your brand. Ask Apple, Nike or Patagonia.
#4: Share Your Story
A strong brand is dependent on a strong story that’s human and personal. Data and figures — the stuff we stick on resumes — are great for providing proof and research, but stories that are the emotional drive people to take action. A story that confirms some truth that deepens our understanding of who we are as human beings. Take your audience through a moment in time that was significant for you.
American Film Maker, Andrew Stanton once said: “There isn’t anyone you can’t learn to love — or at least understand — once you’ve heard their story.”
One tool to help you craft your story is finding your Archetype. Conceived by Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, Archetypes are recurring symbols, characters or themes that embody essential elements of the universal human experience. Using archetypes anchors your brand in something iconic — something that’s already deeply rooted in our subconscious. Are you an Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester or Sage?
#5: Use Creative Tension To Be More Interesting
Have you ever met someone who’s friendly, trustworthy, caring, and sincere, but nothing more than that? Being one dimensional is not very interesting.
We fall in love with people because of the crazy mix of contradictions that make them unique. And instantly more memorable.
Try combining opposing archetypes: The INNOCENT who is an EXPLORER. The MAGICIAN who is also an INNOCENT. The SAGE who is also a JESTER. The OUTLAW who is a CAREGIVER. We are infinitely fascinated by the paradox of humanness. Be fascinating.
#6: Live Your Brand Consistently
Your personal brand is not some jacket you reach for just when you’re about to head out the door. It’s who you are all the time. Every time you make a phone call, send a text or e-mail, attend a meeting or give a presentation, etc., you are branding yourself. Consistency says you will be the same brand wherever I find you. Be consistent and persistent.
In closing, remember — It’s not what you do or what you’ve done — but who you are.
So let me introduce myself.
“Hi my name is ROBIN ALBIN.
I am an OUTLAW. I get up every day to help change the way people think
About themselves and the world.
I’m always pushing the limits and challenging the status quo.
I don’t play by rules. In fact, I find them really hard to follow.
For a very long time I resisted my OUTLAW instincts.
But I’ve learned that being a rule-breaker and an outsider has terrific creative advantages.
And it’s become my secret sauce and a key ingredient in my personal happiness, creativity and success.
But I am also a CAREGIVER
I love mentoring people and helping them be their best. As I have done many times.”
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.