Monday, 25 April 2011

Personal Branding - It's Not all 'Fur Coat'

Personal Branding isn’t all about the clothes you wear, the designers you follow and how many times a week you go to the gym. It is about being you. The true you. The consistent you.

Everyone - ALL people - without exception, regardless of whether they know it or not - have their own personal brand.

It's about perception and perspective. We all have an image, and a reputation. The really big question is – 
are you nurturing and controlling your own personal brand?

We all have the ability to brand ourselves in a positive way. Personal brands aren’t defined in our genes or where we have come from. We see that every day when the most unlikely of candidates change their lives.

To pick just three for example:
  • Bill Gates dropped out of college
  • Liam Gallagher was expelled from school and was under probation at 13 years old
  • Richard Branson has dyslexia and is reported as having a poor academic performance as a student.
Having lived and breathed marketing and branding in the corporate world for over 20 years, I believe that individuals can learn from businesses with strong brands and build their own beneficial personal brand.

Successful businesses rarely try to be all things to all people. They look for their position. Their niche. A friend of mine that worked with Donald Fisher at The Gap tells the story that Fisher said – “keep it narrow and keep it deep”.
  • Think about the MX5 – a small car. Not a family car. Not for transporting big stuff. But nevertheless successful because Mazda MX5 focused on a core group of customers who really love their product.
Branding Can be Wafty
Another thing about branding is that is can be a bit wafty – sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it. My favourite quote from someone, no doubt hugely famous, is “Branding is the intangible value placed on a badge of reassurance”. Think BMW. Think Red Cross. Think Marks and Sparks. The brand is there keeping it real and creating an emotional bond.

So when it comes to turning your attention to your own personal brand – first take an assessment of yourself – discover what you (and your image) means to others. Once you know where you are you can then think about what you want your image to be and set goals to achieve it without losing sight of the fact that your personal brand should be a True You

Knowing who you are and your inner values. Understanding what promises you want (and are prepared) to make CONSISTENTLY and you will start to control the perception of your own personal brand.

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