- Testimonials/Case Studies
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’
With the holidays in full swing, most of us are focused on holiday parties, food, calories and the extra pounds we’ll have to lose once January rolls around. For most of us, we gain a few pounds and lose a few pounds. That’s our cycle- up and down. However, the changes are only really noticeable by us. Very few others really notice our weight swings- we just feel like everyone else can tell.
However, what about the situations where someone loses or gains more than a few pounds? We all surely notice that significant change. If we lose a lot of weight, people are more likely to comment than if we gain a lot of weight. It is just socially the correct thing to do. No one wants to bring to light your 40 pound weight gain. However, we’ll congratulate you on your 40 pound weight loss.
So how does all of this impact your personal brand?
I was listening to a radio talk show last week. They were commenting on how Ralphie May, the comedian, had lost a noticeable amount of weight and the impact on his career. May was the runner up of Last Comic Standing in 2003. He was known as the funny and fat comedian, hitting a high of 800 pounds at one point. Now he is apparently under 400 pounds and still working on it. Does this drop in weight mean that his personal brand is no longer recognizable? Will his career take a hit? Since perception in branding is everything, will he no longer be perceived as the funny and fat comedian?
Other famous folks have also lost weight over the years and had a change in their personal brand. Such celebrities include Sharon Osborne, Al Roker, Roseanne Barr, Brian Dennehy and Randy Jackson, to name a few. In the case of actor Jonah Hill, of movies such as Superbad and Knocked Up, who lost over 40 pounds, I had no idea who he was when I saw him post weight loss (his ears seemed larger all of a sudden!). I can certainly say that at times I didn’t recognize any person at all post weight loss.
Since brand recognition is about consistency and how you show up for me, your personal brand certainly takes a hit if you gain or lose weight. However, the health benefits of weight loss certainly counter the loss of brand identity. You’ll live longer and healthier- you’ll just have to have a plan in place for rebuilding and revitalizing your personal brand DURING and post weight loss.
Now if you gain a lot of weight, not only are you jeopardizing your health but you are taking a really negative hit on your personal brand. People will likely see you as someone out of control who can’t manage their weight, life or business. Please don’t get upset over this fact- just know the way humans operate and use it to stay fit and have an effective personal brand. After all, your self-confidence is what attracts us to you and you’re likely to be more self confident if you are at or near your ideal weight.
I often tell people that developing an effective personal brand is not that difficult. People find this premise hard to believe. So I’ll say it again: personal branding is not hard to do, folks!
I believe 50% is your substantive work product, ie, what you do for a living. The other 50% is what personal brand you project to the world and how we see you and remember you. The problem is two-fold.
First, people don’t want to focus on the branding component because it means having to go “there”. You know what I’m talking about. Focusing on, developing, or fixing your personal brand means stepping back and evaluating your physical looks, personality and relationship to others. That’s not always easy or fun, but really necessary for growth and success in the workplace. Seriously. Only after these exercises can you cater towards the right target market with an effective personal and business brand. I’ve been in this business long enough to have seen otherwise.
Second, personal branding and marketing/business development is not a skill taught in school. We are often not business people. Many of us go to college and beyond. We get a great education (often with much debt), but no one told us how to run an effective business so we can use our education and wisdom. So the result is we are highly educated, but dumb in business savvy.
So you are a doctor, lawyer, engineer, CPA, beauty expert, HR professional, dentist, CEO, trapeze artist, chef or professional organizer? Great. Congratulations for having a wonderful career and a great title/profession.
So when you meet people and want to share with them who you are, do you give them your title/profession? I’ve noticed over the years that at a networking event when someone wants to learn about us, we automatically say, “I’m a lawyer”. As a society, we unfortunately tend to think we are what we do. Sadly, this does not make us fulfilled and it creates a poor personal brand.
As a lawyer, I’ve found this to be especially true for lawyers. When we meet new people, we tend to give them our practice area as our introduction. So it would go something like, “Hi I’m Katy and I’m an investment management lawyer”. Just not so remarkable if you are not a lawyer, right?
The entire point in creating a personal brand for ourselves is so that we can stand out and be memorable and resonate genuinely with others. How are you going to do that if you the first few words out of your mouth after your name include, “I’m a lawyer, dentist, CPA (fill in the blank)”? In a world where there are tons of lawyers and doctors and CPAs and (fill in the blank), does that seem like a memorable or noteworthy opening line? Not to me!!
Please don’t misunderstand- I appreciate your pride in your career and job. However, you are NOT what you do! Let me say it again- your specialty area is not fabulous enough to make me remember you and want to get to know you. That is unless you are an elephant trainer or something very rare.
So what does this mean for you? Next time you are at an event and want to introduce yourself remember, people want to get to know YOU, not your job. So tell them something unique about yourself: Where have you lived? How many kids do you have? Do you have any hobbies?
Remember, don’t assume we won’t find you unique or interesting. We’ll be the judge of that.
I just got back from vacation last week. We were on a cruise. If you haven’t cruised before you may not understand how meal service in the formal dining room works. You can either request: 1) fixed seating, where you dine at the same time each night with the same group of people or 2) open seating, where you can dine at any time at any table.
Open seating basically means you will be sitting with people you do not necessarily know. I personally love open seating because you get to meet new people and move around each day. We had open seating because we didn’t want to have to adhere to any time restrictions while on vacation. I quickly noticed a trend….
Just about every time we sat down at a table with new people, there were at least one or two people who just sat there and pretended like they was no one else at the table with them! They would either look down at their menu or look out at the ocean. It was odd, to say the least!
Then I realized these poor folks are the same ones who would be uncomfortable and a “wall flower” at a networking event. You know the ones. You certainly know them, if you are one of them!
So at these meals on the cruise, I would always initiate the conversation by introducing myself and my family. It usually got the ball rolling. One time, I realized NO ONE had said anything at a table of four people until we sat down and started the introductions!
Now on vacation it really doesn’t impact our personal brands and businesses if we don’t socialize and talk to others. However, wouldn’t it have been a nice thing if you did know how to socialize and start a conversation at the meal table with people you didn’t know? That way, you could practice for when you are at a networking event. What if this was a client you were out to dinner with? Would you still sit and look into your menu? I hope not.
Therefore, your personal brand (or lack thereof) is evident wherever you go. We can tell your personality and socialization skills when you are on vacation or networking for work. So why not practice networking wherever you go- even on vacation? The key is just to like being with others and be self-confident with who you are.
Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to the Chris Botti concert again this year. For those of you who don’t know Chris Botti, he is a brilliant trumpet player. He was “discovered” by David Foster and has a growing fan base. He has a remarkably strong personal brand.
Botti not only plays the trumpet fabulously, but he connects with his audience in an amazing way via his instrument. Oftentimes for artists who play instruments, it can be a bit more difficult to establish a strong personal brand. The artist has an instrument coming between him and his audience so it is hard to make eye contact and stay connected. However, Botti manages to blend just the right amount of eye contact, conversation in between sets, and personal connection stories about himself, his band and his music. And of course, his music itself establishes a fabulous connection and brand to his audience. In fact, he always has his trumpet in his arms on stage, even when he’s not playing. That is all a recipe for a strong brand.
Botti always manages to have meaningful dialogue with his audience as a way to connect and help us get to know Botti the person and personal brand. Last year he told us how he left college in his last semester because he just had to go play with Sinatra’s band and follow his dream of becoming a famous trumpet player. Obviously it paid off. This year Botti made a point of discussing with us the importance of showing up well wherever you go and impressing your peers as a means of building success.
What this means for all of us is that having a strong personal brand comprised of the visual elements and the core value/integrity pieces is how you impress your peers. These peers then often serve as your referral base and source of contact to others who should and need to know of you and your personal brand. So go out there and impress your peers with your genuine and strong personal brand!