Personal branding; a promise you keep…

James Taylor’s album ‘Dad Loves His Work’

It’s no secret – I love my work! This past week alone I’ve had the opportunity to partner with…

  • A university professor from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia
  • A professor and author from George Mason University
  • The only woman ever selected as a CEO for a general aviation aircraft company
  • An electrical and biomedical engineer who is a TED Fellow and Fulbright Alum [and also appeared on the site ‘Hot Babes with Big Brains — seriously there is such a site!]
  • A writer for the Harvard Business Review launching her second book [who also belongs on HBBB, btw]…
  • A global executive with more than 25 years’ experience including Verisign, Macrovision, McAfee, IBM, Oracle and Cisco

And the list goes on…

What is the one thing they all have in common? They are all brilliant thinkers exploring thought leadership marketing as a means of building their personal brand…

Back in the olden days before the dawn of the Internet age branding was something left to monolithic organizations like Procter & Gamble. Along came Tom Peters with his classic article in FastCompany called ‘The Brand Called You‘. Suddenly, everyone was/is in branding whether they want to be or not and the critical issue now is will you get found in the ‘zero moment of truth’ when people are looking for someone who does or thinks what you think or do?

Mark Babbitt [who has written many find articles on the concept of personal branding] recently shared tis:

With all the buzz around personal branding, there seems to be some confusion regarding the difference between “marketing” and “branding” – and why that difference can make or break your attempt to create a positive first impression.

Simply put:

  • Marketing is what you want people to think about you… regardless of reality
  • Branding is a demonstration of what others really think about you… a promise you keep

As corporate America has taught us over the decades, we can get away with terrible marketing blunders (think Sketcher’s $50 Million “Shape-ups” mistake, the “New Coke” mess or the laughable “Ford vs. Mercedes” disasters). Now hoping to put troubled pasts behind them, celebrities such as Lance Armstrong  and Charlie Sheen (#winning!) constantly join the fray.

With personal branding, however, you often only get one shot to get it right.

Over-sell – or under-sell – in a critical situation, and you may have missed your only chance to impress a potential employer, influencer or mentor. Worse yet, try to “sell” a version of you that doesn’t exist… and you’re likely going to be on the outside looking in for a long period of time.

Here are a few rules to make sure you keep the promise generated by your personal brand…” Get the rest here: Student Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel.

I have a set of “good, fast, and cheap” tools that can help you use content for ‘thought leadership’ marketing and I’d love to talk with you about how I approach the topic. Comment below or connect with me so we can talk about how this applies to you and your situation…