Is Personal Branding Just Boasting?
Hey, nobody likes a big boaster, but is having and promoting your own brand something different?
We Brits are a reserved bunch. Our social conditioning has led many of us to shy away from undisguised self-promotion. This can particularly be the case in business.
However there is also the daily pressure to communicate what you stand for. To build an audience who engage with you and what you stand for. To nurture potential clients who already have buy-in because they feel that they have a relationship with you.
In years past communication was largely face-to-face. Your first physical impression was all important. Being welcoming and delivering a concise summary of your 'big idea' was often the differentiator for closing a sale (or not).
Today the online world, awash with images, video, instant messaging and live streams, is a very different ball game.
But we humans are pretty much the same. We crave real human relationships. Interactions that have value as well as convey information are much more attractive. Deep down we want to belong to something, to invest our interest and emotions and loyalty in something outside of ourselves. Experts tell us that the need to belong is an intrinsic motivation...behaviour driven by internal reward.
There are an abundance of examples, here are just a few:
- Sports teams - some really are better than others, but people often follow a team despite their poor performance, and swallow regular disappointment. Why?
- Mobile phones - these devices are pretty much the same (okay one may have a few megapixels more in the camera, another a wider screen etc). But people queue for hours to get the very latest iPhone. Why?
Being connected to other people gives us a sense of belonging as well as a support network, and in your case, an inspiration network.
Looking Upside Down
Personal branding can be kind of boastful - if it is done in a self indulgent 'look at me I'm great' way. This is upside down thinking...this is being a big boaster!
When personal branding makes you the hero it can come across as self-promoting. So, let's turn it the right way up...let's make your audience the hero instead.
Your story is unique and interesting. You are the only person ever to have lived your life - and you are the absolute expert on it. Now, as you have lived you have experienced difficulties, trials, challenges, successes, disappointments, triumphs, setbacks. These have made you what you are today.
Imagine if your brand was simply you telling your story. Not step by step in a long winded way - more like a friendly guide giving advice on what you have learned.
Your experience and advice could be just the thing to really catapult someone out of trouble. The way you overcome setbacks could be the inspiration to try something different. The way that you work with people to get the best out of them might be exactly what someone is desperately in need of.
Your sage words will be the inspiration for a member of your audience (you just don't know who). Making yourself the mentor and your audience the hero changes the dynamic of your brand. You have become a kind friend, one who is trustworthy and knows what they are talking about.
That is not being a big boaster at all. In fact, it would be wrong for you not to help, support, share and encourage others. Sharing a challenge with your audience may be just the spark that is needed to move a professional from under to over-performing.
When you are creating your brand - find a professional to collaborate with you in making you the mentor, have a clear strategy for how you will support, share and encourage, and also create some cracking images to illustrate the point.
If you want to find out more about building an authentic brand with me (rather than being a big boaster) then click the button below.