One of the initiatives that I have been focused on over the past several months is helping to create and deliver a public offering on “creating your authentic brand”, through my business Career Coaching International. The word choice “authentic” is a critical part of the whole exercise, as it doesn’t really matter what you say about yourself (your “brand”) if it isn’t believable or supportable by the story you tell and the way you present yourself. The reality: everybody’s got a brand, whether they are proactively managing it or not: “Disciplined”; “Persistent”; “Rainmaker”; “Lazy”; “Suck-up”; “Flaky”. What are these descriptive words if not “brands” that we associate with people we know at work and in our personal lives? So, what’s your brand, and what do you want your brand to say about you? As Tim Ferriss (author of “The 4 Hour Work Week”) nicely sums up: “Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.”
A few days ago I came across this great site about “honest slogans” that was mentioned in fellow blogger Steve Boese’s blog “HR Technology” (thanks, Steve — check out his stuff here). You should also check out the Honest Slogans website to see the full scope of their work; I’ve displayed a handful of my favorites below. The bottom line as it relates to “branding” — you can provide a message to the market and spend millions of dollars trying to create a certain mindset in the market, however it always sees you for how you really present yourself in your day to day interactions. That is equally true whether you are a large corporation, or an individual “free agent”. So, the secret to effective branding doesn’t seem to be about spending millions of dollars on “brand awareness”, but instead to be authentic to your stated brand in how you present yourself on a daily basis.