First off, I’d like to inform you, my dear reader, that I have successfully completely my Diploma in Management Consulting project and I will soon be publishing the paper, entitled John Antonios – Personal Brand: The Birth of Immortality. I’ll let you know when it’s up for grabs.
The subject of today’s post is a result of my reflection upon the completion of my aforementioned project. In one of my previous posts, entitled Personal Branding – the 10 Commandments, I highlighted the basic rules of “proper” personal branding conduct. Today, I’d like to add a new entry into the antonym dictionary:
Antonym of Personal Brand (n) = schizophrenia, MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder)
Aside from the boldness of this entry, what does it really have to do with the subject of this post? Everything! Your personal brand is not a mask that you wear depending on the occasion; it is who you are all the time, in any situation or environment (work, fun, love …), with any kind of crowd (friends, parents, colleagues, clients …). Personal branding is the process of matching the perception of your brand with the true essence of your brand. Let us take a real example of that from my own experience. My brand DNA is best described as Creative, Passionate, and Dedicated – this applies to all aspects of my life, be it work, family, love, friends … I am the same person all over the place! How can I be authentic otherwise? On a lighter note, it’s already difficult keeping up with one Me – I can’t imagine keeping tabs on multiple characters of me!
Personal Branding is not a process that has an end date. I addressed this subject in a previous post, entitled Personal Branding – Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop, where I expressed how my earned brand attention suffered due to a long interruption of my social media engagement. That fact aside though, ask yourself, can you take a break from being you? Some people might actually answer this question in affirmation, to those I say, are you taking a break from being you, or being something you are not (just to please others)? If you reflect on that question for a minute or two, you will realize that ultimately you are who you are, and this is exactly what your personal brand should reflect!
Your brand matures and grows and that should mirror your growth and maturity. Your brand is not engraved in stone and neither are you, but if they were, they would be identical. Personal Branding is a full-time lifetime job! Let’s dissect that sentence and take a closer look at its constituents: Full-time indicates that it’s something you do all day, and not just from 9 to 5 – it’s closer to 24/7. Lifetime literally means for the duration of a person’s life. The combination of these two terms makes personal branding a continuous 24/7 process.
It is an uncontested fact that Nike is a well-established brand, right? True! And, I would assume that it has earned enough credibility throughout the years, which allows the brand to simply focus on releasing new products and take a break from worrying about their brand, right? Uh, No! Nike’s size actually presents them with an even bigger responsibility towards the brand and its loyal customers. Dan Schawbel, Gary Vaynerchuk, and William Arruda have all established very solid personal brands, published books, and are successfully running their consulting businesses (among others) – sounds like a pretty good place to take a break, right? Uh, No (again)! Their success has resulted in great expectations, and those have to be met!
I probably made personal branding sound like a horrible thing to get yourself in to, while in fact it is completely the opposite. Imagine having the freedom of being yourself. Now, picture having people really love for who you really are. Now, envision throwing away the “I’m going to meet my girlfriend” mask, “oh the boss is here” mask, “great, I have to put up with her annoying husband” mask, and all the other mask that you have stashed in your drawer. Finally, contemplate your world given the chance to do all this all the time for the rest of your life. All you need to do is be yourself, and no one else. This is the true essence of Personal branding. Think About It!