After years of working for some of the world’s most recognisable brands, one of my nearest and dearest friends has recently struck out on his own. We were chatting recently about the intellectual and emotional recalibration that’s required for him to make the transition from selling products to being the product. The conversation made me reflect on the issue of our individual brand and our own brand recognition.
We naturally associate branding with companies, but, today, whether intentionally or otherwise we each have our own personal brand; let me put it bluntly, if you have a digital footprint, you have a personal brand. A brand is a promise of an experience and an experience of that promise. Branding is about the association and feelings that are evoked in people when they make contact, with a product, service or person. Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves as brands. In the digital age, two things have come to the fore about branding and marketing:
- Marketing is no longer driven by what you say about yourself (and your services) to others, but rather what others say about you and your services. You don’t need me to tell you people don’t need inducements to tell anyone who wants to read or listen about their experience of you…
- Time was when the public used to buy from us today it’s not a matter of buying something from someone, it is about buying-into something about someone; for instance, what comes to mind when you think of, I don’t know, let’s say: Trump or Mother Teresa [alliteration rather than polarity intended].
So, here’s where it becomes both tricky and interesting. We know that companies are not allowed to make false claims in their advertising, they risk prosecution if they do so. In our case whilst we might not be prosecuted, we will inevitably face the more awful consequence of being found out. So, the brand that you project needs to be authentic – truthful – in short it needs to be the real you.
When working with groups we start from the immutable truth that “you are the right person” but, who are you? Interestingly even companies struggle with this question and so we have a process that helps them to narrate their story by helping them to define their: vision, mission, core beliefs, and values. Only then do we say: okay, given all that, what are we going to do…? What is true for an organisation is also true for the individual (or for a team) i.e., letting who we are define what we do, rather than thinking that what we do will define who we are.
Someone once told me that if I could figure out who I was, I would never have to do another day’s ‘work’ in my life. Knowing who I am and what I am and am not temperamentally suited to, has proved invaluable to me because, whilst I’ve been economically active all my life; only rarely could I have said that it was “work.”
Perhaps you’ve reached that place where you’re re-evaluating things and your driver is how to make a life and not to just make a living, then here’s the secret: instead of asking yourself, as you drag yourself to and from a job you hate, what is the meaning of life? ask yourself What gives life meaning? There look, don’t you feel better already.
At TCfIL we are committed to helping our clients be it in a group or in individual coaching conversations explore who they really are. Only to the extent that we know who we are we can be who we are. If you’d like to talk to someone about discovering who you, or your team really are then why not contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)7586 718087