by Bryan Heathman
What is the power of having a personal brand? And why does this matter to you?
Just as a corporate brand is often the literal heartbeat of a company, your personal brand is at the core of how people remember what you are about as a professional.
I may not need to say this, but I’ll lay it out there anyway: A corporate brand is worth a LOT of money.
In my own experience, I’ve had the privilege of working with companies whose brands ranked among the top 10 brands in the world. Professionally speaking, their branding opened countless doors for me during the course of my tenure with them. For me personally, engaging with them as an employee and later as a consultant has meant prestige, as a touch of their magic branding dust rubbed off on my C.V. It came in handy when I started my own company and 3 years later sold it for a cool 7-figures. Branding counts.
Early in my career I worked at Kodak during a time when its brand was ranked 4th in the world. The brand alone was worth billions of dollars. Though the company failed to change rapidly enough during the explosive technology revolution, the Kodak brand is still recognizable today.
Generations grew up marking special events in their lives as “Kodak moments”. Kodak’s brand meant not merely some thin chemical strip to load into your camera, but the deep joy and freedom of fresh air on a Saturday morning with a world of possibilities ahead. The Kodak brand stood for the beauty of life’s precious little moments.
There’s no question: brand name recognition means power.
Take for example the case of Apple, the #1 brand in the world: their brand means innovation. Even before his untimely death, former CEO Steve Jobs had iconic status as the genius who pulled the company from the verge of extinction to the top of the charts through uncompromising innovation. Apple is the cutting edge. Owning Apple products means owning cutting edge technology that’s both simple and powerful. It’s geek snob appeal at its finest.
As the #1 website in the world for more than a decade, the Google brand has become so ingrained in our culture that it’s now used as a verb. If you want to find something online, you Google it. Google has joined the ranks of Xerox, Kleenex and a host of other brands that became part of the national lexicon: the brand and the product are perceived as one, inseparable and indispensable. There’s no more compelling benchmark for corporate success than that.
What we can say about these big brands and what they represent is that a company’s greatest skill, or its essence, can be distilled into just a few words. Anyone can latch onto the focus of the business in a matter of seconds. As an individual, you can leverage this kind of thinking for potent results in your work and in your life.
How To Make Yourself Indispensable
So what does all this discussion of big brands mean to you and your career? How can you establish a personal brand that has meaning, relevance and recall for the people you meet? What can you put across about yourself that moves people to consider you and your personal brand as identical – and indispensable?
The key is to take your single most exemplary skill, hone it, and become known for it. Let it be your personal brand. Each one of the household names listed above has done just that. Think about what unique offering you have, and let it become your brand.
Do you have a talent for analysis? Are you particularly creative? Are you almost always the smartest one in the room? Perhaps you have an eye for detail that always seems to be a cut above the rest. Maybe you’re the taste maker on your block. Whatever it is, let people know about it and let your excellence speak for itself.
You Don’t Have To Be A Genius… But It Helps!
In my role as publisher at Made For Success, I work with a lot of authors, coaching them on their promotions and their branding. One of these authors, Bill Chandler, teaches Marketing at a university and has enjoyed some success in this field. But when I took him on as an author, his brand came up short. He needed something unique, a handle that people could remember him by.
I’d known Bill for a few years before I learned that he’d had a difficult childhood, or least an unusual one. When Bill was 6 years old, he was treated as an outsider because he was different from the rest of the kids. Every year his school would give new students an IQ test. This boy had test scores that baffled the test takers.
Bill’s results were off the charts. So the specialists tested him again, and they got the same results. Then they called in people from Washington DC to test young Bill. He spent all of his lunches and recesses getting tested, prodded and questioned by people in suits and white lab coats instead of playing with his schoolmates. No wonder they saw him as different.
What the researchers eventually concluded was that this boy had the highest IQ score of any person they had ever encountered, an amazing 230 points. Yes, he was that good. They changed the benchmark for their IQ tests because of an amazing 6-year-old boy.
Today as a speaker and author, some people don’t remember Bill Chandler by name. It’s a common enough name and it’s easy on the ear, but as a brand it just doesn’t stand out. However people will always remember meeting the smartest man in the world!
Now you know how to make your personal brand stand out from the crowd. You can use this information to create a personal brand for yourself that people will remember… forever! How will you put yourself across?