Monday, 8 October 2007

Shaky Foundation or Steady as a Rock?

Recently, I attended a Personal Branding workshop, which I thought would be one that focused on the emergence of Personal Branding in the UK and explaining their views on the subject. Because this topic is one that I continually study and enjoy sharing with others. I often take time to attend events such as this to get others views.

Nonetheless, I must say, I was greatly disappointed in the course. The speaker, whom has written two books - one on headhunting and the other on personal growth (this one I say with much laughter), I felt had very little idea about the subject and felt as though his contradictions could have an adverse affect on a person's life.

Normally, I am very open minded and try my best not to be judgemental, however, this speaker was so contradictory in much of his presentation, that I felt bad for the people that came there with absolutely no clue as to what they were getting themselves into.

The statement which got me most on edge was his answer to a student's question on values. The student asked, "if it is not true that sometimes, someones values will need to change based on the situation which they may be involved". The speaker unequivocally said, "Sure, values do change based on the situation and at times you may have to alter them". However, later in his presentation on creating a brand, stated that values are your foundation, such as a building is built from concrete and such to build a sound foundation, so must your values". If you are thinking what I thought in class, you are spot on.

If values are your foundation, how can they change? Yet, shall I ask, how can you build a stable home, if the foundation is shaky. If your values change every so often, then what holds you firm? What keeps you stable?

I must quote a great author, who says that a wise man builds his house on a rock and when the rains descend, the floods come and the winds blow, it will not fall because it was founded on the rock (Holy Bible, Matthews). Therefore, your values and beliefs give you the ability to stand for something or fall for anything.

I was insulted as this speaker, in so many words, recommended we should mask ourselves sometimes to get the job; break values to keep the job or fit in; and hide your true being. What?

A personal brand is not just building skills for professional success. It is a cohesive unit which exists to complete your total package, professionally and personally. People need to identify with you professionally and personally. Without having mixed personalities. Hence, changing your values and views. Therefore, this model helps one to view branding as a strategical process, which entails every dimension in one’s life – as a holistic view.

According to personal branding specialist, Gad and Rosencreutz, a personal brand should consist of four dimensions: Functional dimension: Practical ability and skills; Social dimension: Ability to attract and interact with other people; Mental dimension: Intellectual ability to inspire others; and Spiritual dimension: Connecting to the bigger picture, by a person’s role in society and causes in which one believes.

This model suggests that a person’s brand includes a balance between a person’s personality, abilities, social activities, and cultural believes: hence, shifting to a methodological stance on branding and less reliance on self.

Adapted 4-D Model© by Sharon Hughes

In what has become such a valueless society full of moral delapatation, hold tight to your values and believes. They make up who you are and are a major part of your personal brand. In essence, strong values build a strong foundation, to house an unforgettable brand.


Friday, 15 June 2007

Inspirations from your International Personal Consultant - "Got Brand?"- Part 2 of 5

Dependable, refreshing, trust worthy, safe, and reliable are all expressive terms associated with many of today’s products and services: such as, well known Beverage Company – Coca Cola, American life insurance agency – Liberty Mutual, and many automobile slogans. However, these are also terms associated with people: celebrities, public officials, and corporate moguls. Many products are geared towards groups with similar interest and branding association, in order to make their product more appealing to the targeted audience, such as: Starbuck’s drinkers are professional, savvy, artistic, and loyal; woman wearing a designer, Louis Vutton bag is considered wealthy, fashionable, and posh. This is branding: An identification of products and services by the development of a name, symbol or design in order to differentiate it from another.

Branding is now the strongest concept of every marketer and considered to be the most powerful idea in the commercial world. From a bar of soap to government officials, branding is what is now and what is in. It is what drives consumers to buy, remember and associate their products or services.

Consequently, it seems where ever you turn in today’s society, everything has a brand association. Even people! “During the past decade, a minor publishing and personal development industry has developed, especially in the USA, that encourages and advises individuals how to market and brand themselves”. This new industry is based on the principle of people having the same marketing and branding concepts as companies, products, and services. Personal branding seems to have no set definition or concept, however, many experts define it as the firm impression or fixed image that comes to mind when people think of you: or a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, which describes the total experience of having a relationship with you. In other words, how do people see you, know you and, remember you.

Personal Branding encompasses a person’s total package, from appearance to lifestyle. Moreover, many people have based numerous perceptions of others based on looks, communication skills, associations, and professions.

I sometimes wonder are we products, symbols or people. Like Coke and its million dollar campaigns to maintain consistent and memorable packaging, how much do we spend to make sure people perceive us in the light at which we aspire to be?

Top Recruiters and large companies, now seek a person with a brand that will represent or fit their own corporate image. However, Personal Branding has spanned beyond recruitment and career enhancement to obtaining and maintaining personal values, goals, and self-improvement.

For example, even for us serious singles, looking for a mate is more than a hott date (or at least for some), but more about finding someone with values, goals, a career, investments; in essence, a person with a strong brand. Competition is steep in the world and there is no need to think that only applies to the business environment. So making sure you have a competitive advantage against the many other thousands of singles, is key to finding and maintaining a long lasting relationship.

Recently, I came across a tips list, 'Personal Branding has become personal'. Hmm, let's take a look:

  • Be aware of your key attributes, characteristics and personality traits. These can easily become hidden when you are under pressure.

  • Get a clear understanding of your personal vision and what you feel your purpose is in life. Knowing the answers will help you make sure that you are going in the right direction.

  • Know your personal values. Your values act as your compass, and they are what you must have and honour in your life to feel fulfilled.

  • Know what and who your name is associated with. What happens if you put your name into a search engine? If you don’t have an online presence, prepare to get one.

  • Know your skills, experiences and interests; understand them inside out. Remember stories and situations and, in particular, key achievements and responsibilities you have had.
This list can be easily applied to all aspects of our lives. So, do you...Got Brand? If so, manage it, own it and build upon it personally and professionally. If not, it is time to discover it.
Personal Branding is no longer for the corporate people, but for everyone that steps foot onto the pavement of today's society.

Related Articles

Shepard, "From Coke to Cattle to Charlie"

Winder, "Branding has become Personal"

Monday, 21 May 2007

Inspirations from your International Personal Consultant: Part 1 of 5

Do you know your style? ….If not join the millions of people around the world that are struggling with the same. The question that sticks to my mind is, “Are we spending too much time in Fashion and not enough in Style?”

My answer is yes. Many people have become celebrity and status quo focused that they forget what makes them shine everyday. You! Society seems to have us so wrapped up in what we should strive to have and not appreciate what you already have. We are centered on being socially in fashion when it is just not really you: Causing consumers to spend more and more, creating higher debts, and more dissatisfied customers due to impulsive buys.

Have you looked in your closet lately? Is it filled with last year’s fashions that constantly have you stating my all time favorite, “I have nothing to wear”; and you find yourself spending more and more money to catch up with what is hott today? Then, you my dear are a victim of Fashion. As I read fashion magazines, watch the latest fashion week or the hottest trend review, I see celebrities with the latest Hermes red satchel bag or the latest skinny jean and long shirt. Then as I walk the streets of London, I see mainstream consumers, mainly women, dressing in these same fashions, yet not so appealing. Not because they are not beautiful, but because they are trying to adapt to one person’s fashion and not their own style. So whose styles are these? Many say they are the thing of the future, others say it is a way for designers and retailers to make more money, but really is a way to see how far society will go to portray an image of a socially acceptable status. Are we trying to be someone we are not? Are we buying for who we are or who we wish to be? This is a great study that so many great scholars research every day.

What is fashion? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is a trend or a fad. I say, the hottest item in season or the look everyone must have.

What is style? According to the same it is chic, flair, comfort, tailor or how about the distinctive manner of a person. I say, it is creating your own fashion, knowing your personal image or your very own personal brand. It is classic, it is urban, it is a mixture and for some it is trend. Style is what fits you the best.

Do you look and feel your best, each day as you make a step into the world? Do people stand at attention when you walk down the street? Do you feel as if you own the world and no one can tell you that you don’t look fly today? Than my dear, this is personal style. Don’t put on something that doesn’t make you feel like two million!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many days, I should have left that shirt in the closet or paired that belt with another pair of pants or really shouldn’t have been caught going to my funeral in those low rise jeans and high rise undies. But most days I strive to look and feel my best. I wear the colors that fit my skin tone in the proper season. I wear the clothes that are appropriate for my frame and I dress according to the activities of the day (this prevents the dogs from barking at the end of the day. Yes, Divas must always have on the fly footwear…okay!).

Do you know your body type? What fits you best and makes you look thinner, fuller or taller? Do you know your color palette, in essence which colors make you pop and which make you look as though you visited too many late night happening spots the night before? Do you know how to wear the things in your closet and still be in this season’s fashions without buying a new wardrobe twice a year? If you can not answer these questions, then you are in need of an image makeover, in order to enhance your style for a better you outside; which makes you feel like a better you inside.

Don’t get caught in the hype, know how to look your best on a budget and without going in debt. Know how to wear your 80’s cargo (utility) pants with this year’s trendy platform heels. Know, what ever makes you look and feel your best is your Style for this Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter season.

Take a walk on your own personal catwalk and show the world, I am on top, I am in power, and I shine!