By Katherine Miracle
The truth of personal branding is that many people who write about personal branding never consider accountability for branding choices. The consequences of your brand can risk too much to not have a plan for what discipline you need to grow.
In our society discipline is not a fun word, but it is the only way to achieve any goal. When you have purpose for your life and stick to the discipline needed to fulfill that purpose, you avoid temptation and risk and you create a mindset focused on your goals. A great example is any celebrity, politician or professional athlete that makes a poor choice and it becomes breaking news. The brand they once created and the respect you gave them can disappear when they stop focusing on their purpose (their brand) and looking at the whole picture (the world around you).
You may not be a celebrity, politician or athlete but your brand is judged by every tweet, post, word you share and behavior you display. In coaching I have found many people who have tried to be a brand that they are not. On the outside all looks good; on the inside the struggle never ends.
Your personal brand is professional and personal. It is who you are, and you will learn from others and ask for expert help from others to grow your brand. Strategic personal branding (the process of building your brand from the inside out) is the ultimate leadership-building, confidence-building, and accountability process. This process helps you know who you are and share your purpose and passion with the world.
In our society we see self-promotion and unconscious branding through social media. People project a brand in a status update and later regret that they posted or shared that information online. Strategic personal branding is the process in which you can truly know yourself, respect yourself, and understand the consequences of your brand.
The strategy of personal branding is needed in our society because people focus on themselves and focus only on what they want the world to know about them. The selfie society we have become is showcased in the example of playing basketball. When you are guarding a player on defense you can become so focused that you miss that your team got the ball and now you are playing offense. When you are too focused on one thing or too focused on yourself, you are not using your peripheral vision and you miss the whole picture. Our society needs to tune into to what is happening in our world by researching it and looking deeper than just reading headlines.
The lie about personal branding is that it is selfish; the strategic personal branding process takes you to a deeper understanding through creating a vision of accountability, research and discipline.
Personal branding is only successful with 100 percent accountability. There are things that you must add to your life to accomplish true accountable personal branding. Example: The respect for others and finding your faith helps you focus on your brand and how you work toward the future you desire.
Did you know you were branded as a child? You may not have a physical brand on your skin, but the nicknames you were called or the stereotype of — “You’re the sick one, the athletic one, the smart one or the pretty one” — impacted what you believed about yourself. As you grew, you embraced the brand, lost focus of it or fought against it. A brand is a trust. It is your promise to the world.
I build brands for a living and I see what kills brands! Psychology teaches us it is the same thing that destroys human potential. Before I share the killer of brands to you, let me ask you: Do you believe a brand is built externally or internally? Well, let’s learn from Advertising Age & American Psychology Association and your own experience:
If you went to a restaurant because someone told you the food was fabulous and you saw a billboard with a cool logo for the restaurant but you had horrible customer service, would you go back?
The restaurant brand had a disconnect. The packaging and exterior look was good, but the promise was not delivered. So it is with people. Talk of personal branding is … pick a color that reflects you and wear it all the time. Sorry, but it takes more than that to build your brand. It takes research, exploration, coaching, using your reticular activating system (the part of your brain that helps you take action) and above all respect for your brand. To build your brand you must know your truth. Your truth is what you believe and what you are willing to stand for.
I ask my clients and the people I coach the following question: “If I were to put you on CNN and the whole world were listening, what would you say”?
Your answer becomes your campaign … .he best advertising has a campaign, and you do too! But how you communicate that campaign can build your business and your relationships. Your brand is communicated best by sharing your vision, your campaign (which is the action), then backing that up with behaviors that reflect your brand.
Why is building your brand important? One of my college students shared with our class that as a child she was told she was dumb, and she acted on that belief. She failed in school and relationships. She withdrew and on the way home from school fellow students threw rocks at her. One day after she was pushed to the ground on her way home from school, she decided she wanted to end her pain and drank floor cleaner.
Why do we put so much emphasis on what others think? My student shared that, in the hospital after drinking floor cleaner, she knew she needed something. She is now fascinated with strategic personal branding and is involved in America’s Respect Revolution video campaign. She continues to build her brand. The focus of her definition of success has opened her eyes to trying new things. She now realizes that she is very smart! Her coach reports, “She is on a campaign to teach younger students and help them grow confidence.”
The next time you see a school shooting, a video of ultimate disrespect or abuse, consider what would have happened if the person committing the act had a coach, was seeking expert advice from a mental health professional, a counselor or heard a speaker that taught them to use their mind to focus on the success they want in their life.
Your personal brand is your GPS. It guides us to becoming the person we desire to be.
(Any CBC reader who writes to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30 will receive a free copy of “Your Strategic Personal Brand … the Truth and the Lies.”)
Katherine Miracle is the president of Miracle Resources, an award-winning full-service marketing, public relations and training firm that helps clients increase revenue and awareness. She is a strategic personal branding expert and the author of “Your Strategic Personal Brand” Please connect with via email or Twitter.
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