SO MUCH ADO ABOUT PERSONAL BRANDING- 3 Solid Keys to Ensure Your Brand Outlives the Hype.
So much has been said about personal branding and I sometimes worry about young professionals and entrepreneurs investing so much time on building a flaky inauthentic life and business without real substance. Branding as a concept is great. A good man leaves an inheritance for his children. The inheritance is a good name, a solid foundation, good will, that they can build on. His name opens doors instead of shutting it.
On another note, a good name is better than gold. That’s the spiritual origin of branding.
Branding is about recognition(Identity), appreciation i.e. Value and memorableness-(Relevance).
Gold has value, supports commerce and is sought after by everyone. Money like gold answereth all things- meaning, its value is so immense, none can ignore it. Gold has weight and its worth is measured by its weight.
Now imagine, that if you have a good name (brand), it means you have more value, more weight, more relevance, more recognition than gold. WOW! Now you see why everyone wants to be a brand. But hang on a minute, let’s unpack the key elements that can be inferred from a good brand, a good name. A brand isn’t a brand because you say so. Neither is it a brand because you get a PR agency to feature you a few times in the media or you have thousands or millions of social media followers. Yes, you may make some money from being known, but like gold, how weighty are you, and how long will your value last? How much substance do you have? What’s the basis of your value? Why do so many so called personal brands not last past a season, while gold continues to have value year in year out, from generation to generation? How come certain brands like Jesus, Paul the apostle, David the giant killer, mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, (please suggest some Nigerian examples……) are still living personal brands?
Here are 3 solid keys based on my observations that are absolutely critical to build a name that is worth more than gold, and therefore become a power brand.
1. VISION – Do you have a clear vision and sense of purpose that propels you daily? Are you driven by a sense that your life is bigger than the mundane, bigger than your environment and by your circumstances? Do you have an unshakeable feeling of greatness that drives you towards wanting to do more than survive? Do you want to change things around you? How much do you want to impact the world, transform lives, contribute to society? Or are you content to position your self and your business for the sole purpose of ‘having a good life’. No serious brand exists just to do the ordinary. Every power brand has a mega vision that appears crazy to them and everyone. They see beyond mere functionality to long term transformation. They recognise they aren’t here to shrink but to impact a generation where they’ve been placed. Without vision, death is the outcome (i.e. Brands disappear after a while because their vision was never really there, or it was flaky). Vision is the solid platform for building lasting brands. The stronger the vision, the stronger the brand? What is your vision as a professional? As a business person? What do you want to fix in your industry? Don’t seek attention, seek a sense of purpose. Seek to solve big problems.
2. VALUES – Every power brand has high ideals, standards that guide their thinking, their behaviour, their action and interaction with the world. One of the differences between a developing and a developed country are its clear set of values, rules that constrain the citizens and cause them to operate in a defined manner, leading to culture and orderliness. Without values, inconsistency is the result. Here today, there tomorrow. No real standards, no one knows what you stand for. No clarity. No diligence. No Excellence. No confidence. No reliability, determination or commitment to sticking things out. You change with the weather. No one is sure what you’ll do next? How you’ll respond to situations? Even you are uncertain. When opportunities come, you take them but because you have no clear values, at the first sign of stress, you give up, complain, gripe, throw tantrums. You have no gumption. You are like a substandard toy that falls apart at the first use. On the surface, you are well packaged, but deep down, you are a royal mess, focused on appearances, trying so hard to belong to a world where everyone is shining, speaking, writing, getting endorsements, being featured. Stop it. Honker down today and determine what your values are. Who you’ll serve. What you want to be known for, how you’ll respond to every situation. Some of my core values are faith (confidence in every situation) ie I’ll never cower or let life stop me. I believe in a force that’s greater than any immediate situation. I am determined, and unstoppable – these all stem from my core value of faith. Freedom is another value of mine- I want the ability to live out my life fully and on purpose, to reach the world- therefore I have to work hard, create mega value so that I’m not constrained by a sense of lack and unable to impact the world the way I’d like to. I want freedom to serve the clients that I’d like to. What are your values? Fairness? Excellence? Diligence? Would people know this is the go to person for a high level problem? Can they vouch for your standard?
3. VOICE. Your voice is the external expression of your vision and values. It is as you develop deep and uncommon clarity of your vision and values that you should seek to articulate what you stand for, and it should be consistent across all platforms. Your social media channels, these days are a massive platform for demonstrating who you are. Use it wisely and purposefully. Your work, your business, your commitment to social causes, and public affairs, these are all aspects of your voice. Nothing speaks louder than your actions and results. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Let them race ahead. Stay in your own lane. Don’t use profanity because ‘other speakers’ use them. Don’t wiggle your bum, if you are not comfortable doing so. Don’t copy another person’s style, (be inspired by those with shared values), but don’t feel like you need to look, and sound like seemingly popular ‘brands’. At the end of the day, no one cares who you say you are, especially when you aren’t clear, and consistent with who you are. Power brands are power brands because they are communicating consistent value and results through their lifetime. The problems you solve for people, whether at work or outside work- these represent your highest voice! It’s your ultimate seal of authenticity. Use it daily, infuse it with your values, let it be powered by your vision, and see the world stand at attention for you.
Once again, don’t seek to become a personal brand, seek to become a person of great vision, with unshakeable values, offering uncommon value and using a clear unmistakable voice. That’s how you inadvertently become a POWER BRAND. Whether as a person or a business. Ultimately, a brand must stand on true substance, not hype.
Go Mega! To your success and significance.
Udo Okonjo ©2017
Ps. I write for fun, to teach, to inspire and to pass on experience gained in over 26 years as a professional, entrepreneur, trusted real estate wealth advisor to the top 1%, not so doting but impactful mum tycoon, honoured wife (no one treats me better than my Prince ☺️, sister friend and mentor to ignited champions.
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