A Profitable Personal Brand

By Scott Westerman
“In order to succeed in the new world of work you MUST become the commander of your career.” – Dan Schawbel

The most important company in your portfolio is “You, Inc.” How profitable is it?

Maslow teaches us that there are basic survival needs we must meet to provide the food, clothing and shelter that are the fundamental elements that fuel our ability to contribute. These correlate to the structure, the power and human capital that are fundamental to the operation of every business.

With this foundation in place, we create a strategy for our lives, that one sentence mission statement that clearly states our purpose to the world. A good strategy takes you only part of the way there. What determines your brand’s efficacy is how you bring together skills, assets and intelligence and focus them toward a desired outcome; the essence of execution.

This is Business 101. These principles are as pertinent to “You, Inc.” as they are to every company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Whether or not we want to admit it, we all have a Personal Brand. It’s the outward expression of our professional worth in an effort to aggregate the resources we need to sustain our chosen lifestyle. It’s at the center of every daily activity and is reflected in everything we write, we say and we do.

What do profitable personal brands have in common?

Deborah Shane, identifies thee dimensions that strong personal brands share in her book, “Career Transition-make the shift”

1. They are laser clear on knowing who they are, what they do, and whom they serve.
2. They differentiate themselves from the competition.
3. They’re always evolving the ways they serve and the ways they present themselves through their brand story.

“Branding,” Deborah writes,  “is the combination of your tangible and intangible characteristics that make you unique. It is the development of that internal and external ’package’ with the promise and potential delivery of your results to match.”

Andy Wright, the former president of brand loyalty for Carlson Worldwide observes that, “An iconic brand plays a valued role in a consumer’s life. It delivers a feeling that the consumer just can’t get from any other brand.” Some of these feelings may include: security, safety, familiarity, excitement, and satisfaction.

Ed Burghard, a branding consultant and proprietor of The Brand America blog identifies five principles that iconic brands shrare:

Clarity of promise, and
Consistency of communication.

“The hard work.” Burghard says,  “is the proactive management of the brand (including product development) to ensure the five criteria are delivered.”

We’ve talked before about how to Craft Your Personal Brand. Once you have developed an authentic clear, consistent relevant and competitive personal brand that reflects your passion. How do you best express it?

In Words: Your LinkedIn Profile should reflect the key dimensions of your brand, right down to the head shot you use as your profile picture. Your Social Media presences will make a strong statement about your personal brand. These statements should be consistent with the vibe you are trying to create. When you write a blog, comment on a post, send a letter of compose an email, be sensitive to the words you use. The “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” maxim does not apply when you are building a brand.

In Actions: When we explored the concept of “Chasing Happiness” together, I suggested that “Our every day behaviors build the habits that define a lifestyle that determines the extent of joy or pain we experience in the course of a lifetime.” How you spend your days has a direct bearing on the success of your personal brand. Concentrating on the most productive activity for every given moment is a skill that is easy to practice, but harder to sustain. Those who can do it can quickly lead the field.

How do we measure the success of our efforts? It’s easy to fall prey to the metrics of a material society: The Lexus versus the Camry, a gated community, club memberships, flying first class. Nothing is wrong with enjoying these things.

Truly successful people tell us that true satisfaction is based on something deeper. Personal abundance can help enable others to share in our good fortune. To help someone else discover and express their own personal passion, to contribute to a cause that addresses fundamental human needs, to nurture valuable personal relationships, to give your body with the respect and daily attention it needs to provide you with the strength you need to do the things you want to do.

These are a few of the things that might be metrics you associate with a profitable personal brand.

Our world is filled to the brim with brands and the images we associate with them. Many contend, but only a few consistently and effectively connect with us in a way that adds real value to our lives.

Endeavor to create a personal brand that stands above the many. It will not be an easy task. But the rewards will be worth it.

Feedback is always welcome to Scott@Spartanology.com