Personal Branding and Career Success

Today’s career advice is inspired by a movie theatre chain.  I’m a big movie fan.  I prefer independent films to the big time releases – although I must confess that I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 and enjoyed it.  In Denver, most of the independent films play in art houses.  Cathy and I often end up at a Landmark Theatre, the chain owned in part by George Clooney and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  Last weekend, we saw the new Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris.”

The Landmark Theatres in Denver have started doing something pretty cool.  Before every feature begins, the manager of the theatre goes to the front of the auditorium and welcomes the crowd.  He or she then speaks a little about the feature we are going to see and upcoming events at the theatre.

It sets a nice tone – kind of like, “We’re all independent movie fans here.  I appreciate that you like movies that make you think, not just entertain you with 3D or special effects.  We’re a great little community.  I appreciate you for being part of our community at this theatre.”  At least that’s how I interpret this gesture. 

I think that these little talks by theatre managers are a great branding tool.  How many movie theatres have you been in where the manager greets the audience and talks a little about the movie you’re about to see?

Not many, I bet – unless you visit Landmark Theatres.

Branding is important to your career success too.  Tweet 61 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”

If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you need to brand yourself.  It’s simple common sense.  Your personal brand differentiates you from everyone else in the world.  My brand is “The Common Sense Guy.”  Because of my brand, people know that they can rely on me to provide them with common sense advice that will help them reach their life and career success goals.  They also know that they will get this advice in a straightforward, easy to understand and apply manner, because after all, I’m just a guy.

You need to spend time crafting your brand.  Your brand is the two or three words you want people to associate with you.  Decide what you want these words to be, and then go about making sure that all of the people with whom you come into contact think of you that way.

When my name comes up, I want people to think of two things – “common sense,” and “guy.”  I do everything I can to get people to think of me this way.  My writing is simple, straightforward and to the point.  The career advice I give my career success coach clients is always based on ideas they can put to use immediately – never filled with a lot of theory, even though it is based on the latest life and career success literature and ideas.

Creating and nurturing your unique personal brand is important, because nature abhors a vacuum.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will.  It’s better to be in control of your personal brand by creating it yourself, than it is to let others create it for you.

Here’s a real life example.  I have a very successful friend.  He owns a high-profile and growing advertising agency.  We met when we were both working for a very large Fortune 500 company.  My friend is a fun guy, a big sports fan and very witty.  Somehow his fun personality got him tagged as “immature.”  This is ironic because he is one of the most mature and hard-working people I know.

No matter, his immature brand cost him several promotions at the company where we worked.  Whenever his name came up in promotion discussions, the dreaded “immature” tag came up too.  He finally had to leave that company and begin someplace anew where he could establish a more positive brand.  It worked out well for him, as he is entrepreneurial by nature and is much happier running his own company than he would be working in a very large corporation.

Let this story be a lesson to you.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will – and sometimes the brand with which you’re stuck may not be the brand you want.  Pay attention here.  This is important career advice.

Creating a strong personal brand is simple, conceptually.  Ask and answer these simple questions:  “How do I want people to think of me?”  “What words do I want to people to use to describe me?”

Think about these questions.  Take your time.  Don’t settle for the first answer.  Work to come up with the one that truly describes how you want to brand yourself.  Then – and this is very important career advice – do whatever it takes to make sure that other people think of you that way.  In other words, act in a manner that consistently and constantly promotes the brand you’ve chosen for yourself.

For example, if you decide that “hard-working” is a term which you would like others to associate with you, then work hard.  Do your assignments well and on time.  When you finish one task, ask for another.  Come early, stay late.  Ask questions to help you understand the business.  Pretty soon, people will begin thinking of you as a hard worker – “someone who does everything we ask, and then asks for more.”  Once this happens, you’ll know that you’re on your way to creating your own special and unique personal brand as a hard worker.

The important thing is to choose your brand, then consistently and constantly do the things that will build the brand that is uniquely you.  That’s why I blog.  That’s why I write books.  My books are short.  They are not filled with a lot of fluff – in my opinion, fluff and common sense don’t go together.  That’s why Success Tweets is written as a series of tweets – common sense information, presented in a down-to-earth, easily readable manner.  That’s also why I wrote a series of blog posts explaining each of the tweets in Success Tweets.  I turned those blog posts into a book called Success Tweets Explained.  You can download a free copy at http://budurl.com/STExpCommon sense says that some people will want more than 140 characters on some of the career advice in Success Tweets.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people are clear on their purpose and direction in life; commit to taking personal responsibility for their career success; are confident and are competent.  The ability to create positive personal impact is the first of four key competencies that all successful people have mastered.  Developing and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 61 in Success Tweets.  “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”  There are two steps to building your personal brand: 1) Figure out how you want others to think of you; 2) Consistently and constantly act in a manner that will get them to think this way.

That’s my career advice on personal branding.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading these daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

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