I’m going to perform a magic trick right now! Do I know you? Probably not! Can I see you? I don’t think so! Are you a student? An executive? A doctor? A woman? A celebrity? A parent? I have no idea! So basically, I have absolutely no clue who you are, or what you do, or anything certain about you, except for the fact that you are reading my blog right now. Right? Wrong! I can tell you without knowing any of the above that Personal Branding is for YOU.
Since I’m a very kind person, and in this case, a very kind magician, I will tell you how I guessed that but you have to promise it will be our little secret! OK? Well, I was able to tell that Personal Branding is for you, because in fact it is for every single one of us! Seriously, this is the second time you make that jaw-dropping expression on your face, you might want to stop; people are staring at you right now!
Kidding aside, when I tell people what I do, one of the first things they say is “oh that must be really cool, so you work with celebrities, and important people …” – uh, no! Personal branding might sound like a fancy marketing terminology that consultants sell the rich and famous, but in fact personal branding is for every one!
It is as much for the CEO as it is for the student, it is as much for the employed as it for the self-employed or the unemployed for that matter … I could go on forever, but I prefer to tell you how it is so! But first, let’s try to define personal branding in layman terms and then see how it fits each and every one of us.
According to Wikipedia, “personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. Further defined as the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual; this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable!”
Now I can see how people can confuse Personal Branding for a service that is sold to only those who can afford it. That definition not only strips me of my humanity, but objectifies me down to a piece of clothing … With all due respect to that abovementioned definition, this is mine: Personal Branding is “You” in the Eyes of the Beholder! Sounds poetic, and it’s meant to be so.
While working on a personal brand of a prominent CEO of one of the real estate companies in Dubai, I was asked by the liaising PR agency, “what do you think Personal Branding can do for our client that hasn’t been addressed by our press releases, and TV releases … we have made him one of the most spoken about Real Estate CEO’s in the region …” I said, I would like to humanize your client! You have spoken about the CEO, I want to help people see the man behind all this, the human, his DNA.
If I were to take away the title given to you by the company you work for or the one you run, who then would you be? How would you introduce yourself? What would be written on your business card? What would be written on your CV? Would you have a CV? It’s time for you to define what makes you YOU – that is Personal Branding.
I hear fresh graduates complain about not finding the right jobs, and the unfairness of the work force, etc … dear students, I would like you to put yourself in the shoes of the HR manager, he has tons of CVs on his desk, all of which are graduate with distinction from the most reputable universities, bla bla bla … so how should he choose the right candidate for the job, how should he fairly give an equal opportunity to that pile of 100 resumes he has on his desk. Besides, what does your CV really say about you? Is it a true reflection of your skills, or a mere copy/paste of the job description you were handed when you first go the job! For all I know, you could be lying, and certainly don’t have time to ring up 100 references to see if your story checks. Can you see where this going? Can you understand why you need the job of that HR manager easier? The answer lies in developing your personal brand – you call yourself a marketer, why? Show me? Talk about it? Blog about it? Stand out, make yourself heard … earn my attention! You like Facebook, use it properly to build your brand – start a “Like” page, where you can express you love of marketing and reflect on books you have read around the subject … Facebook is not about poking and tagging, it’s a platform that offers you an opportunity to shine …
I worked 10 years in marketing – that makes up 1/3 of my life, so to me that is a lot! During February 2009, I was in a Management Consulting class in GGSB (Grenoble France), when Sharon Crost, my teacher and my muse, walked in to class and started with the following sentence: “I tried googling some of you names, and I was able to find only a few … mostly Facebook …” I remember sitting there and her words starting fading away, and I was thinking to myself, “she did what? Google my name …” I got online then and there and did my own vanity search, and to my surprise, I was nowhere to be found, except on Facebook, and some Karaoke recording I did a while back … That is all I had to show for after TEN years of marketing … it was a sad moment, but a life changing one!
You don’t need to wait for 10 years to define your brand, you can do it now! In fact you need to do it now! Here’s a starting point that should get you started, strip yourself of your current title, and ask yourself, who am I, what am I passionate about, and how can I convey that to the world. Think About It!