I am so grateful to do what I do for a living. As a personal branding specialist, I have the privilege and honor of working with some of the most inspiring, genuine and influential people you could ever hope to meet. Whether they are leaders of industry or corporate executives… thought leaders affecting social change or independent business owners running a retail shop… sales executives, consultants, teachers, students or motivational speakers, they allow me to be a small part of their journey to greatness.
I thought I would share a few of their stories with you, to illustrate how someone comes to the realization they need personal branding help, and the results they achieve.
Bob*: A CEO with vision & passion… and a heck of a nice guy
Bob’s public relations team, who recognized something was amiss with their CEO’s reputation, hired me. He was, by all accounts, one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. He still is. The problem was that being a “nice guy” was only part of who he was, what he had accomplished, and what made him credible as a formidable thought leader in his field.
You see, Bob is CEO of a highly successful technology company that serves kids through education. Bob is deeply passionate about innovation, and is schooled and versed on education technology. He has committed his life to improving the education system in the US and created numerous pathways and systems currently in practice today. And he isn’t credited with many of them.
Bob and I set out to build his reputation as the thought leader he truly is. After a personal brand audit and brand feedback assessment, we identified targeted and compelling opportunities to broaden his exposure, fine-tune his audience focus and begin targeting his personal brand in a more focused and intentional way.
He is still a very nice person – the kind of man you’d be fortunate to know, and even more fortunate to work with – but today, he is also becoming known for his expertise, passion and commitment to education technology. Bob is becoming increasingly recognized among his peers for his contribution to thought leadership in this industry. He is a sought after speaker at international events where thought leaders gather. Most importantly (to Bob), he is able to broaden his voice in advocating for education reform and innovation, which is his true calling.
Gail*: Finding her voice through her personal brand
Gail originally approached me to help her decide if she should abandon her current business model and create something completely new.
In the personal brand discovery process, we learned that Gail’s passions were not part of her daily work, as they had been when she founded her company 12 years earlier. She wanted to do something different and thought her personal brand might enlighten her to that path.
We learned she was passionate about providing client solutions, holding clients’ hands through stressful processes and being outdoors. As the founder of a successful company, she found herself immersed in the daily work, and less and less in the beauty, creativity and glory of her finished projects.
Her brand feedback survey revealed many wonderful gems, including that her target audiences appreciate her patient style, ability to reassure and validate their needs, and her unique ability to make a complicated (and stressful) process smooth.
We proceeded by developing an integrated brand marketing strategy for Gail and her business, which included blogging, authorship, public speaking and new client sectors. She leveraged her passionate, caring and focused style on serving her existing clients in a more robust, targeted way, and extended the reach of her services to companies and groups involved in sustainability and natural resources, to feed her need for connecting with the environment. Armed with this information, Gail took hold of her business model and modified aspects to leverage her strengths, passion and talents.
Cathy*: Something isn’t sitting well…
When Cathy called me from Boston, she thought she had a simple problem. She was about to pull the trigger on a new website for her consulting business, and something just didn’t feel quite right. She couldn’t put her finger on it.
We decided together that a personal branding project was in order. Cathy’s business was a direct extension of her personality, reputation and network of contacts. Therefore, it needed to matchup closely with her personal brand. I decided not to look at the website design until after we had done our work.
In our work together, I learned that Cathy was passionate about action. She talked fast, ran ideas together quickly and was attracted to clients who were equally energetic and results-driven. Cathy was upbeat, happy, creative and Type A. A successful sales executive for many years, she had an extensive network of high performing clients and prospects.
After assessing the results from her brand feedback and dissecting the functional and emotional needs of her audiences, I looked at the website mockup. No wonder Cathy’s stomach hurt!
The colors were subdued… the imagery was passive… and across the top the copy read, “Are you tired and burned out? We can help.” How de-motivating!
In her brand framework documents, I had provided Cathy with new language, marketing direction and tone suggestions. We shared this framework with her web designer and within a couple of weeks, came back with a home run. The new site reflected her energy, attracted the attention of her dynamic target audience, and the copy was bold and direct, just like Cathy. She told me months later that her website became a true reflection of who she wanted clients to get to know. The mistake she’d originally made, as she described it, was focusing on the “decorating” before building the “foundation.”
Everyone comes to the personal branding process at their own pace, in their own time
Personal branding is not only for people in a job search, following a major life transition or when you are feeling stuck in your career or relationships.
Personal branding is how each of us articulates our value proposition to a target audience and builds a compelling reputation. In order to effectively develop and communicate a solid personal brand, we need to know who we are, how we want to be perceived, who we need to focus our efforts towards and what results we expect to receive. These are all important ingredients in this personal branding formula. Leave one out and it just doesn’t work the same way.
To learn more about the personal branding process and to get started right away, please visit www.LIDA360.com or www.BrandMeToday.com.
*Names have been changed.