We often talk about brand identity in the Book Yourself Solid system, so I was thrilled to see the “brand man” himself, Daymond John, in action. While listening to John at a recent local event, I was struck by his ability to reflect brand identity and continuity.
First, he started with a little story about his life that helped you to know that he was raised in the same urban environment which he serves. Then he punctuated the continuum of his talk with music. He used short 2-3 second sound bytes to carry his audience on a trip through time. Some of it was old school 50’s music, some of it was hip-hop. The whole time he stayed true to his character and stayed true to his message. As a member of the cast of the ABC hit series, Shark Tank, John made an acronym from the word SHARK to illustrate his ideas which further promoted the brand identity of Shark Tank. Whether you liked his style of clothing or his personality didn’t matter. I saw personal brand identity in action!
In the Book Yourself Solid system, Michael Port teaches that when you develop a personal brand identity you are deciding how you want to be known in your market so that you are positively irresistible and unforgettable. Beyond expressing what you do, having a personal brand identity lets others know what you stand for, what they can count on you to get done for them, and the style (or the “how”) with which you do it.
The key is to define your personal brand before one is forced upon you and locks you into a pigeon hole that doesn’t even remotely allow you to show your fully expressed self. Here are a few questions to help you to think about who you really are as you go about creating your brand.
Take out a sheet of paper and mark a line down the center. Imagine yourself in the two scenarios listed below. Write scenario #1 on the left side and scenario # 2 on the right side. Be completely honest with yourself. No one else needs to look at what you’ve written.
Scenario # 1: Recall one or two instances where you have sold out or settled for less and compromised your integrity in your business. Write them down and include whether it was a pleasant experience for you.
Scenario # 2: Recall one or two instances where you felt alive, vibrant and fully self expressed. Write them down. Also include whether this was a pleasant experience.
In scenario #1, you were engaging in what I refer to as fuzzy branding. If you are doing something that is contrary to who you are, you send a fuzzy message. No one listens to a radio station that has fuzzy or static-filled sound. No one watches a video where the picture is unclear. The message goes nowhere. That is what happens to you if you are not clear in your brand, no one pays attention or they tune you out.
Now, turn the sheet of paper over and take a moment to ponder these two questions and write down whatever comes to mind. You might want to take a deep breath first, I’m asking you to go deep. Here goes:
- How can I behave differently and speak more boldly from a place of free expression so that I only work in situations that make me feel fully expressed?
- How will I communicate in such a way that I and others around me can understand that I’m not interested in anything that compromises or dilutes my character?
You may have to take baby steps to move yourself more and more toward full self expression. It may take time for you to even know what full self expression means for you.
When you show up in ways that allow you to be known for being the one to turn to when specific solutions are needed, you are seen as the go-to person among you clients and your peers. Though it can change over time, a personal brand identity needs to be clear, recognizable, and solid. Ask yourself, do you want a brand that comes from the outside or the true brand that comes from within? No one else can define your brand for you because no one else can define you. You are the only one who has the right and the ability to do that.
This article was inspired by insights derived from the Book Yourself Solid system. More tools can be found at Book Yourself Solid or here.