Personal branding is the same as corporate branding

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded

I recently ran across an article by Guy Kawasaki (one of Apple’s first official Ambassadors). The article is about personal branding, which has become a topic that is gaining more and more interest. With pop stars, sports stars, and movie stars all trying to make themselves unique, we “ordinary” folk are doing the same. We are trying to separate ourselves from the herd in our careers, our social lives, and even when we’re trying to look for a mate. Some of his observations hold true when it comes to branding a company. The same objective remains – to make your company unique and meaningful to your audience, someone worth remembering and following. Here are Guy Kawasaki’s main points:

• Make meaning, not money – He believes that a person should stand for something beyond just trying to make a boat load of money. He says all you’ll end up doing is attracting the wrong kind of people. Guy says you need to align all of your actions with your long-term goals. This translates perfectly into a company application. Brand is who you are beyond making money. A company needs to act according to how they want to make the world a better place and their long-term goals. Don’t be hopping from one fad to another.

• Make a mantra – Guy states that for a personal brand you need to state in three words or less what you are all about. A mission statement is not what he means. Make a mantra. What do you stand for in it’s simplest terms? Same goes for a brand. In fact, that is what a brand is. A very short statement of what you stand for beyond making the “stuff” or money.

• Polarize people – He advises that being a “jack of all trades” or being a generalist is not how you stand out. All this means is you are not good at anything. Guy says you need to be great for some people rather than trying to please everyone. Don’t be afraid to have people strongly for or against you. Generating a strong reaction lets you know that you do stand for something and that you are great at it. It’s been said that you aren’t doing something right unless you’re pissing someone off. This doesn’t mean being a jerk. It means don’t try to appeal to everyone or you’ll end up being mediocre. Same goes for a corporate brand. Often, you serving one core group great, you’ll end up polarizing another group, and you’ll also gain new converts because of your conviction. Your core group will love you and your brand for it. They will, in turn, become your ambassadors and spread your brand gospel.

• Find a few soul mates – No one makes the journey alone. We all need help. Find those who support you and believes in you. Most importantly, find those who will balance you out. Make time for them. Listen to them. Act on their wisdom. This is something companies need to embrace as well. Find the partnerships where your brands are soul mates. Make time for your most loyal customers and listen to them. Few companies can make it alone for very long either.

• Don’t let bozos grind you down – Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone will agree with you, that’s okay, and that’s life. You need to be true to the core of who you are. Same goes for a company brand. Your brand is not for everyone. Find those who believe in what you stand for and your brand will be priceless to them. They will wait in line for days to get your new product. They will do crazy stunts just to be part of your next campaign. They will dive in front of professional gun fire on your behalf because they believe in what you stand for and what you mean to their lives.

As you see, personal branding is based on the same principles as corporate branding. It’s has less to do about what you do and more about what you stand for. It also means, if you are everything to everyone, you’re really nothing special. And isn’t that one of the things that a great brand is about?


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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