Here’s the secret to personal branding in a nutshell: be consistent. Try your damnedest to be true to the things that make you who you are, and try your best to improve upon those gifts you have, and compensate for the ones you lack. If you learn nothing else from this post, snip everything off below these words and focus on the first part, because that’s really the nugget, and that’s really what needs your focus and attention. The rest is just support.
In Develop a Strong Personal Brand Online part 1, I showed you a small version of the answer to the question, “WHY have a personal brand?” In personal branding part 2, I shared a few tools you can use. In Connie Bensen’s personal branding bonus round, she shared with you a story about building community. Now, let’s finish it off by talking about what gets done with branding.
Brands Can Be Stories, and Thus, You are A Living Story
By saying this, I’m invoking a powerful promise, the the storyteller’s promise. Simply, tell the story you told your audience you’re going to tell. Think for a moment on this as it applies to you. I tell people daily that I’m here to help you understand how these tools develop community, improve your communications, and do a host of other things better than previous tools were doing them. I promise through my stories that you, too, can figure out how to build influence, develop relationships, and be more useful to your organization (be that a business, a nonprofit, or a circle of friends).
If I let you down, I’m not keeping the promise of my story. It’s pretty simple, really. And not so much touchy feely. I could say the same thing a different way, and a manager would write it on an annual review. Integrity is another word for this.
Improve On What You Have, Not Lament What You Lack
I sat in a woman’s office the other day, and she had a copy of StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath on her desk. I’d read the book as well. It’s a follow on to the popular Now, Discover Your Strengths. These books resonated with me because they gave a different set of advice than what we’re accustomed to learning. They taught me about moving forward with what I’m really good at, and finding ways to work around my weaknesses.
We’ve been taught since childhood that we have to be well-rounded, that we have to improve on our weaknesses, that we should strive to fix what’s broken. Not me. I’m done. I’m focusing on what I do best, and you know what? It’s impressive how that changes not only my perspective and abilities, but also the perspective of my colleagues. It turns out that they’re just as willing to accept the parts of my job that I’m not very good at accomplishing, and they either encourage me to get it done some other way, or when they can, they pitch in.
Why work hard to be what you’re not? Build and deliver power through those parts of you that are already your best gifts. I’ve heard this echoed through several other works. In fact, I could give a bibliography of about 30 books without breaking a sweat that will give you the same advice. Don’t ignore what you might need to do but aren’t so great at accomplishing. Instead, find the way that you’re going to handle those parts of your life, deal with it, and focus even harder on the parts you do well.
The Last and Biggest Secret
Confidence. One word. That’s it. If you can learn to nurture your confidence, you will accomplish FAR more than with any piece of software, nifty logo, or perfect slogan. You will do more through empowering your belief in yourself than through ANY other possible tool or method or strategy.
I believe that everyone can recover from a waning self-confidence. It’s not easy by any stretch, but if you learn (or get help to learn), you can uncover ways to strengthen your confidence, and that power will give you energy and ability and an ability to persist, even when things are not in your favor.
Confidence (not arrogance) is the secret sauce to everything you do with regards to personal branding.
Did You Think It Would Be Tricks and Strategies and Repeatable Methodologies?
There are plenty of ways you could approach this. You could develop the strategy of ubiquitous presence: “I’ll be everywhere, and thus people will get to know me.” You could build a strategy to provide “just in time service,” maybe through using the best listening tools, and having resources enough to provide answers and assistance.
But would any of that work without the parts I mentioned above?
What Would You Add to the Branding Story We’ve Told Together?
Do you have more to say? Would you share your personal branding experiences with us? How might you recommend someone take the four parts (including the bonus) of this series and apply them to their online presence efforts to build up a personal brand of value? What are the benefits of all this work? Have you thought of that one, yet?
Your conversation, as always, is greatly appreciated.
The Social Media 100 is a series of posts written about social media and social networking tools by Chris Brogan. If you’d like to receive every post, please subscribe for free to my blog. There’s also a free newsletter with completely different content, if you’d like to receive that as well. Thank you for your attention.