I get excited to read other people’s perspectives on personal brand development. So when I seen an article come through my email that is entitled “7 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand,” I am super excited to see what this perspective will be, and if I can learn new things in this area.
[One of my Personal Brand Values is “Growth/Evolution” so I am a sucker for a variety of topics that keep me evolving within what I do and who I am.]
But 99% of the time, within the first paragraph of the article, I can sense it is going down the path that so many other authors/consultants/marketing professionals go….down the ‘MARKETING’ path of the brand building process. There are so many articles regurgitating the same marketing techniques, over and over again, month after month…yet still missing the critical process components to actual Personal Brand [and business brand, for that matter] development.
My beef with this is that branding and marketing are two separate functions, but eventually operate in sync to deliver the brand, the experience, the promise, etc. We have to first create the brand, then we go to market with it. Makes sense, right? So why, then, is the term branding used as a synonym of marketing? No wonder so many don’t understand how to brand in a conscious, strategic and deliberate way; because they are focused on getting it out in the market. Well, my question is simple, “Then, what is it you are marketing?”
Your Personal Brand [if we get super technical here], started when you were born, as others began to form impressions of you. You may not have had a conscious understanding of it at that point, but it was actually forming way back then. The marketing of your brand happened almost instantaneously too, you figured out how to get the attention of others, for food, milk, diaper change, etc…..right?
As you grew older you started realizing how others have been perceiving you, and you got confused, or highly strategic in creating better and better marketing to continue to attract attention from the people in your life. However, you also realized that some of the people you ‘marketed’ yourself too weren’t ‘buying.’ They simply didn’t share the same position, values, philosophies, so to speak.
Most of my Personal Branding clients come to me because they’ve realized that they have been marketing themselves over all these years, changing it with their changing of environments, friends, and colleagues they were surrounded by, but have not actually done any due diligence of actual Personal Brand Development.
So, what are they actually marketing? A mish-mash of messages, inconsistent, trendy with the group, the situation, and based on the assumed ‘wants’ of others.
What happens in the case where they’re all focused on just the marketing of their brand, rather than the conscious, strategic, and deliberate identifying and defining of it first? Well, they tend to begin to ‘chase’ their audiences (friends, colleagues, community, family, etc.) wants, needs, and desires to please what they ‘think’ others want. Like a business chases its prospective customer market….never really knowing when they’ll shift, ebb, or flow.
This is what I call being overtly EXTERNALLY DRIVEN. Chasing something outside of yourself for validation. Always seeking others approval and opinion, or even status. Living vicariously through other’s perspectives. Losing connection to ourselves more and more, every day.
Oh, yeah, I remember you, where have you been?
When we make the decision to shift gears towards a more INTERNALLY DRIVEN focus, everything transforms in our experience. We start to re-member who we really are, at our core. We connect deeply to what makes us different, what our core values can do to shape our experiences, and even tap into and showcase our authentic personal brand STYLE, and own how we show up, manage our relationships, speak our truth, and so much more.
It’s critical to identify and define our own brand first [no marketing in this process, just discovery], put standards in place that enable us to live it regularly, and become highly consistent in KNOWING AND BEING our true self. Think of it as a road map for becoming our full potential. This is where self-actualization begins to root and expand exponentially.
My advice? Don’t spend another dime on marketing until you do the work necessary to construct and clarify what your brand DNA is really all about. It will change the way you look, the way you talk, the places you hang out, the company you keep, and so on…enabling you to become more of YOU from the INSIDE OUT! ;0) …Then strategically go to market!