I Had Personal Branding Completely Wrong!
Image by: Brian Snelson
I had personal branding completely wrong.
I had this notion that it was about designing a public facade so that others will like you. Just think about that for a moment… Designing a public facade so that others will like you.
How stupid is that?
I had it in my mind that we should become—or pretend to be someone we're not, and that somehow people would love that. Wow!
Again, how stupid is that?
Last weekend, I was listening to podcasts while doing some housework. Specifically, I was listening to the Xero Hour podcast, hosted by Bob Knorpp, of The Beancast, and Saul Colt, Chief Evangelist at Xero.
Saul's guest in Episode 13 of the Xero Hour is Dixie Laite a trailblazer in digital marketing, who, like many of us has done a wide variety of things in her career and is most recently at Nickolodeon.
Dixie shared stories of how her quirky and unconventional style and delivery ultimately made her a success and despite some people wishing to suppress it. She seemed unphased and clearly came to understand that it was that style and delivery that got her the gig in the first place and not by trying to change herself to fit into someone else's mould.
It was Dixie's certainty and confidence about her true authentic self that people were seeking, not some alternate, fake or watered down version of Dixie. People were drawn to the the real Dixie. People are drawn to the real us.
The real Dixie is her personal brand. Her style, her kindness, her background and everything she brought was her personal brand. Letting people know about it, see it, and experience it, was what personal branding was really all about. It's not some image to build out of papier mache and other people's expectations. Personal branding needs to be the expression of our authentic selves and our true personalities. It must be the showcasing of our identity and individuality.
Saul, himself, has a strong—giant meteor-like—personal brand. He's colorful, smart as hell, confident, vulnerable, shocking at times, yet sincere and soft spoken; someone who genuinely loves to teach others and help people.
As an aside, Saul is someone I've had the pleasure of speaking with a number of times—a true helper/mentor.
It's clear to me now. A strong personal brand is about being our most vibrant and indelible selves and sharing that with the world.
What's your take on personal brand? Do you think it is egotistical flag waving for attention seeking narcissists or do you think it can be about drawing attention to your authentic self and being known for being you?