Saturday, September 1, 2012

Building Your Personal Brand (Pt 2 of 2)

The best protection you have against failure is personal branding.
If a project or your business fails you will always have your personal brand to fall back on.
It is likely you will have several different careers and businesses over the next 20 years. You will probably be selling stuff that doesn’t exist into markets that haven’t been built yet.
The one thing that will keep you competitive and valuable no matter how the market evolves is your personal brand.
The best protection you have against failure is personal branding.
Here are the final four steps of shaping your personal brand into a monument to your life’s vision and mission.

TWO—Develop Your Personal Brand Statement
This is WHO you are, WHAT you do and WHOM you service.
Get it down to a simple LinkedIn headline.
My previous LinkedIn headline was all over the board:
Entrepreneur, Private Equity Investor, Advisor, Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker and Publisher of SUCCESS magazine.
Clear as mud, right?
Lots of WHO… but no WHAT or to WHOM.
Now it is simply:
Publisher, SUCCESS Magazine & Mentor to CEOs and High-Performance Entrepreneurs.
Ahhh, much better.
WHO, WHAT and to WHOM, all in 78 characters (vs 118).
Your turn.
Paste your new and improved LinkedIn headline into the comments below.

THREE—Package Your Brand

Every great brand is a narrative; it should be a compelling and awe-inspiring story. One that instructs and arouses, illustrates and illuminates.
Think of any great brand: Apple, Nike, Starbucks and Harley-Davidson.
They all have a story and it is through their story that we came to know them, connect with them and maybe fall in love with them.
What’s your story?

 Craft it today.

Think about a few key stories that define who you are today. Write them down. These can be simple things that you remember from your childhood or entertaining stories from your adult life.
Think about a few key stories that define who you are today. Write them down. These can be simple things that you remember from your childhood or entertaining stories from your adult life.

Having difficulties? I can relate
Candidly, this step has always been difficult for me. I am so focused on the pursuit of my goals that I give very little acknowledgement (or memory) to my past. I’ve had to interview my family, friends and other people whom I have a shared history with to pull together stories to help with my teaching, audience connection and brand promotion. You might have to do the same.

Don’t like talking about yourself or storytelling? I can relate.

Two things you might be surprised to learn about me. I’m a pretty private person and I am not terribly comfortable (or interested in) talking about my life stories or myself, and in a private setting you will rarely hear me do so. I am always the one asking the questions and inducing someone else to talk.
In my public personal branding I had to get over this. I needed to be more personally vulnerable and revealing. I can tell you it has made a huge difference in being able to engage, connect and make an impact in other people’s lives… oh, and continue to bolster my personal brand.
So, even if you aren’t comfortable with it, start doing it anyway. It will make a big contribution to your success and your connections with others.

FOUR—Distribute Your Brand

Anywhere and everywhere share the stories that make up your personal brand—who you are, what your passion is, what you do, what you stand for and who you serve and what makes you unique and distinctive.
Right now, go check your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, YouTube channel—Do they all tell your brand story?
Your story should be featured on all your brochures and other marketing pieces.
Make sure you talk about your story in articles you write, speeches you give, and sales presentations you make.
As Jim Rohn would put it, “Talk about things that matter (value-driven brand stories) to people who care (your target market).”

FIVE—Reinforce Your Brand

This is the hardest part, as it is a 24/7/365 job. This means LIVING your brand.
Imagine yourself as a giant billboard constantly walking around and always visible. Everyone around you is looking at and reading your billboard. Based on what it says they are making decisions about your brand, constantly.
Because my brand word is “success,” I am compelled to bring excellence into everything I do. That’s why I show up on time, prepared and ready to exceed expectations. That is why no matter the dress code of everyone else I am going to show up dressed for ………..(?) You guessed it—SUCCESS!
Imagine if my brand is “success” and I show up unshaven, with ripped jeans, tattoos, an eyebrow piercing, tattered Chuck Taylors and a T-shirt.
Hey, I understand that IS the brand identity of some people and it serves their word—if their word is “renegade,” “artist,” computer “hacker” or “savant.”
But my word and brand is “success,” so I have to show up 24/7/365 personifying that brand
Thus, my suggestion: Be careful which word you pick, as you will be challenged (24/7/365, with no vacations or holidays) to live up to it.
So as your last assignment, ask yourself:

Are you living up to your word, and your desired brand 24/7/365?

What adjustments, changes or improvements do you need to make to do so?

Follow these five steps and you will be an unstoppable force in this economy, and in any economy the future might bring.

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