Someone once said that “personal branding is the new holy grail of marketing.”
Creating a personal branding statement starts by first identifying your target market and then pinpointing the most important benefit they want from a person in your position. Then you must create reasons why people should believe you will deliver on your benefit promise.
And if possible, you should create a unique difference between you and your competition. Creating a personal brand identity helps you become known as the one to call in your industry.
My target market? My unique difference? My ass. Personal branding misses the point: people are not brands and they’re not companies. They are, uh, people. And there’s all this gooey, messy, intuitive, emotional, vibe-type stuff that humans innately get. Sure, we want to be perceived a certain way by other people, but that perception is allowed to change. In fact, it’s supposed to change.
We are unpredictable, and inconsistent—even to our closest friends—and we like that, because we see ourselves in each other. We learn how to be better people (yes, that includes career stuff) by allowing ourselves to change as we wish, by watching our fellow humans fall down and get up, and by admantly refusing to define ourselves in 15 words or less.
From Fast Company:
To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.
If your answer wouldn’t light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client, or — worst of all — if it doesn’t grab you, then you’ve got a big problem. It’s time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.
Please. Does anyone out there actually have a “favorite brand manager”? Would you admit it if you did? Personal branding reduces humans to a sales pitch. It diminishes all the unexpected delight that comes from not worrying about your place in the world, but instead simply occupying it to see how it will change you, and the community around you.
Humans thrive in communities (um, duh). But creating a perception of yourself as a human in competition with other humans does the opposite of creating community. It creates animosity. If you’re really worried about getting people to like you and remember you and want to talk to you, all you’ve got to do is be nice and be thoughtful about how you’re being nice. Seriously, that’s it. You don’t have to brand yourself as a corporation might, you simply have to be human.