What is Personal Branding?
Mercedes, McDonalds, Wal-Mart. Like them or not, you probably have an idea of what these companies stand for and what you will get from them. For example, I probably wouldn’t go to Wal-Mart to shop for a suit to wear to my next professional speaking engagement. I would, however, readily head off to Wal-Mart for back-to-school shopping for my elementary-school-age children, and homeware supplies. Upon my arrival I would fully expect to be warmly greeted by a smiling face at the door and to find an ample supply of family necessities at a fair and reasonable price. This is their brand impression.
What is a brand impression? It is the overall impression that a person has of the traits and proficiencies of a company or individual. Corporate brand impression is generally created through advertising, marketing and customer/ user/ personal experience. My interpretation of Wal-Mart was bred from the millions of dollars Wal-Mart spends in marketing and advertising to communicate who they are and what they do in the market place. Depending upon how successful they are in defining and communicating this, you may or may not have the same brand impression.
So what does this have to do with your dating success, career transition and personal sense of fulfillment? Everything.
Just like corporations hope to attract the appropriate customers through brand strategy and marketing, individuals hope to attract the appropriate personal and professional relationships and opportunities through their own style, knowledge, talents, and general impression on others.
This is your Personal Brand. Whether you realize it or not, you have one. The question is, “Is it working for you?” Are you meeting the relationship partners that support who you are and where you want to go in your life? Does the your best “you” come out within your existing relationships? Does the “real” you come out in your relationships? Do you feel valuable? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it is likely you are not presenting your authentic brand, but rather the persona you feel you “should” or “need” to present.
This often happens when we define what we want before we clarify who we are. This would be like Wal-Mart saying we want to make more money, let’s attract wealthier customers and advertise solely in Beverly Hills and similar communities. This would not likely produce their desired results. A more productive approach would be for Wal-Mart to define a list of what they do best as a company and their core descriptive traits. Then determine who would be most interested in these values and abilities. From there they could market to the audience most interested in what they have to offer.
The same goes for individuals. We must start with ourselves and look deep into what we do best and our core descriptive traits. Owning our individuality and uniqueness is vital to this process. As we embrace the parts of ourselves that differentiate us from the norm, we will naturally attract people and opportunities that desire this uniqueness. Conformity is the root of mediocrity in a brand.
It takes a brave spirit to dare to be different. You must be willing to stand out. In dong so, however, you can be found. In today’s world of global communication, the barriers of location have evaporated and we must find ways to be heard above the vast sea of voices speaking at the same time. We need to find our own ways to stand out and be recognized for the gifts we have to offer. Standing out does not imply that we should all be loud and over bearing, but simply bravely authentic. Be yourself and those who appreciate your authentic traits will gravitate towards you.
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