There are very few people in business today that would question the role of corporate branding in building value into a business, product or service. Rory Sutherland, one of the world’s leading behavioural economists noted that branding ads more value to most products that manufacturing ever will.
Increasingly it is being recognised that Personal branding is equally important in terms of building value into an individual and helping that individual realise their potential both inside and outside of the workplace. The fact is people with strong personal brands are more likely to achieve their goals.
Personal branding is the process of – UNLOCKING AN INDIVIDUALS TRUE VALUE BY DEFINING AND COMMUNICATING THEIR ESSENCE IN A WAY THAT IS AUTHENTIC, RELEVANT, DISTINCTIVE AND EASY TO COMMUNICATE.
In the many speeches, seminars and workshops, together with executive coaching on this subject there are a number of common questions including:
– Does everyone need a personal brand?
– How long does it take to establish a personal brand?
– Is personal branding an authentic thing to do?
– How can I communicate my personal brand?
– What returns can I expect if I establish a personal brand?
The fact is, everyone HAS a personal brand. If you accept that a personal brand is a summary of your audience’s expectations of you, everyone who has an audience has a personal brand. The questions therefore are – what is that personal brand and is it consistent with the achievement of your objectives?
The fact is, most people give very little thought to their personal bran and still fewer really know what others expect of them or what their brand image is. Equally highly successful, high profile people are generally very clear about the expectations of others and how to measure that expectation.
If you want to realise your potential in 2014, you need to recognise that you have a personal brand and maximising your performance involves managing that brand.
It takes years to firmly establish a personal brand. Having said that:
– The longer it takes, the earlier one should get started
– The impacts of a strong personal brand can be felt relatively quickly
– It only takes hours to destroy a personal brand
Personal branding is all about your authenticity. To be effective, your personal brand needs to be one you can live consistently and this can only occur if the personal brand is a true reflection of who you are. The best personal brands (say Richard Branson) are completely authentic.
Personal branding is about identifying and focusing attention on those elements of an individual, and his or her values, personality and capabilities that are most relevant to the target audience. It is not about fabrication – it is about playing you the individual’s strengths and those aspects of the individual consistent with his or her objectives. It is also and MOST IMPORTANTLY, about ensuring that the individual’s behaviour accurately reflects the authentic brand.
That leads me on to the fourth question. The most effective way of communicating a personal brand is through behaviour. Indeed the individual’s behaviour is the main tool available is establishing and maintaining his or her brand. If behaviour and the brand are inconsistent, the brand will never be established.
When Richard Branson started building his brand he had to use traditional media channels. Today people building a brand have a multitude of social media channels just made for helping them establish their brands quickly and cost effectively. Having a comprehensive social media strategy is today, central to communicating your brand.
With regard to the last question, the obvious response is – what return on investment do you get from a well- established corporate brand? The fact is – no one really knows. But what we do know is that people pay $1000 for an Apple Iphone and around $500 for the equivalent Samsung product.
What we do know is that there are plenty of people out there with no more talent than you have but with a much higher income and significantly greater prospects. What we do know is that we actually know nothing about John Symonds and Mark Bouris, but we still see them as highly successful and good corporate citizens.
We also know that if I don’t know you or my expectations of you are inconsistent with either reality of what I am looking for, I will not engage you, not give you a job and not promote you. We also know that networking and relationship development is much easier when we have an optimal image.
The fact is, you already have a brand and you don’t know how appropriate it is. Chances are you don’t even know what it is (and research show most people have not idea), but your chances of realising your potential will ultimately be dependent on the expectations that others have of you.
Just a thought
This issue will be discussed in detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –www.djohncarlsonesq.com/publishing
John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing, communication, personal advancement, business development and behaviour management.