The ‘Brand is YOU’!
Welcome to the New You! Starting today if you want to represent anything in this world, you need to start with you. You are now not only the designer, coordinator, artist, musician, chef, staff and executive of you; you are also your image or YOUR Brand.
Twenty years ago while working for an author on their 8th (not so great best seller) I asked myself, “why it is that she was so popular?” I suppose I asked it a little loud when I heard another ghostwriter reply, “look at her, it’s her image. Everyone wants to meet her, interview her and that is how she sells books.” Silly me I thought it was content that sold books, now it all started to make more sense to me. When I arrived back home I looked in the mirror and realized that I looked and acted like most everyone else that I knew in my world, even though I didn’t feel like it.
At this point I wasn’t sure who I needed to speak with concerning my image. I don’t even think they called it image designing or branding to the best of my recollection, all I knew was I had to make some changes to get noticed. I set in motion a plan to observe as many details as possible from those that I thought may be doing this; I studied celebrities, authors and actors to see what secrets they may give away. I was astonished by the amount of details that I was missing out on before (considering I am a writer too). They all had a thing, a gaff if I may. It was what they wore, how they spoke, what they sponsored, what they ate, how they acted around media and friends. I felt like I had been observing the world through blinders for years. I found a weekend seminar in New York City that was sponsored by Anthony Robbins, it guaranteed to help me re-imagine myself, my- life, my possibilities. I have to admit, it was pretty intense and eye opening from the minute I stepped into the hotel lobby until I boarded the plane home. Since that weekend I have never seen the world as black and white again, it is awash of Technicolor. I continue to be astonished, as I watch the personal image of people evolve into good and bad branding of who they are or should I say want you to think they are? I too have evolved in my branding over the years; I have talked with and worked with many people, young and old as they grow into their brand.
Here are a few ways to improve or build ‘The Brand You’ for work, school and personally.
- A. 1. Think about your ‘brand mantra’
You will hear others discuss this catch phrase which really means ‘get to know you and the heart and soul of what you are after in life, professionally and personally. Look at how you see yourself, followed by asking others who know you, how do they see you. Your ‘brand mantra’ should be a memorable statement describing what makes you stand out in the crowd and how important ‘brand you’ is. Make it something simple easily remembered and unique to you. ( i.e. Nike- Just do it, Richard Branson- Screw it, Let’s just do it, Oprah Winfrey- “Live your best life”, Abraham Lincoln- “Whatever you are, be a good one”, Martin Luther King Jr.- “I have a dream.”
Interview yourself; after all you are the CEO of ‘Brand You’
What field or profession am I serious in?
- How do I relate with others?
- How do people benefit from me
- How do people describe me to others?
- Who is it that I am representing ‘Brand You’ too?
1. Build a list of what makes you amazing
Why are you so amazing? What is it that people feel makes you the one they want to be friends with or on their team? Are you organized, a bear of a leader or always know the right thing to say to others to ease their fears?
- 2. Describe yourself to ‘Brand You’
Think of words that describe you and will bring some clarity to the emotional list you put
together. In the case of Disney they would say it’s for ‘family’ to go along with ‘fun’.
1. 3. What is it that you do?
Write down all the things that you do or want to do. It maybe something that relates to your career or something that has been a hobby up to now. Think about how you make that position or can make that an amazing possibility.
1. 4. Place it all together
Look at the lists of words and work them into a short phrase, 5 words or less. Your mantra should clear, simple, memorable and should start by inspiring you.
1. 5. Using a pseudonym or nom de plume, pen name or alias.
Take into consideration when designing ‘Brand You’ the safety of you and your family, and the social transparency that you all are going to be exposed too. Also think about how many other individuals may have the same of similar name. Is your name hard to pronounce which and will that create confusion or distraction to potential ‘Brand You’ clients or fans.
i.e. Stanley Lieber =Stan Lee, Mary Evans = George Eliot, Gordon Sumner = Sting, Peter Hernandez = Bruno Mars, Alecia Moore = Pink.
Pull it all Together
Finally, look at your three lists of words, and see how you can combine them into a short sentence or phrase—no more than seven words. Your brand mantra should communicate clearly who you are, it should be simple and memorable, and it should feel inspiring to you. Start using it everywhere and with everyone.
- B. Now work on your physical image of ‘Brand You’
There is only one place to start when branding your physical image, in front of the mirror where you will ask yourself- “What makes me the brand that everyone in my profession or lifestyle would look to for results, guidance or success?”
Write down some of things that you feel need to be changed with your look, your attitude and your thought process, ask a friend to do the same thing and see if there are many similarities. Now take some pictures and play with them to see if you like the new brand you better, also look at your notes; are you happy with the way you wrote them and would the new brand you like them? Do these while keeping in mind your mantra.
Once you have decided on what you feel would be a better brand you, start placing the wheels in motion to make the changes, give yourself a dead line. Remember it may take a few months to really get in the swing of things, especially if you need to change your hairstyle, clothes, weight, speaking inflection and don’t forget about your smile (teeth).
- C. Deciding where and how to profile ‘Brand You’
Work on you profile address/ email address- This is similar to your home address but it is more personable and will be available to everyone 24/7. Make sure that it is clean and understandable to all that are trying to contact Brand You.
For example- I was trying once to contact a small publishing company, their online profile was …wolfbrother@… For three days I trolled from website to website trying to find this publisher who I only knew as Mitch, I found another publishing company that I hooked up with while on this quest. The next time I met up with Mitch he asked why I didn’t contact him, I explained and found out that he used wolfbrother because of a family pet he loved when he was younger, you see the problem there. Make sure that it is not only clear that they want you but that they can find you through links everywhere.
- D. Where to build the Brand You profile.
Start with your email, and then move to building a website. Websites can cost hundreds of dollars if built professionally, however Word Press and other similar blogs have free and affordable alternatives to assist you as you get started. Social media and direct media are normally the next stop on the train of web image. After establishing their email and securing ‘Brand You’ domain name, move to facebook to build a page, followed by twitter, Pinterest, Google, YouTube, tumblr and finally a Blog. If you have a product to sell you may want to add an Amazon account, EBay account, Esty account as well. Keep in mind that you want them all to connect to one another like your own personal DNA strand for ‘Brand You’. In addition to this I would recommend that you tag everything that you post so if copied or shared it will link back to you.
- E. Now comes the online work or profile of ‘Brand You’
First thing to remember when building an online profile of Brand You is that it has to be clean and built with the idea that you want potential business from it. Control the content of the page by not soiling your image either for the good or bad.
Remember to include the Brand You mantra in the profile as often as possible, while still keeping it professional.
Add a picture of yourself to personalize Brand You with others that are interested in what you have to offer. The pictures in your profile works like a hand shake or bow at an event or meeting, giving the client a sense of security. At this point you are building an emotional connection with your potential clients or fans.
Reply to your clients and fans in a timely fashion (my father us to tell me “you have to deal with the issue as if they only have 24 hours to live”). The thought is, if it drags on, they move on.
Stay connected by updating posts, blogs, pictures and information.
- F. Share ‘Brand You’ Profile
One of the best ways to get exposure is to share your profile with people that you feel can help you grow. Notice that I said “people that you feel can help you grow”. One of the first mistakes of branding anything is that most of us make is thinking that everyone can help me. While there are many that wish you success, there are as many people that don’t have your motivation for success and will consequently see you as a threat and try to sabotage all your efforts, so keep this in mind when inviting people to ‘Brand You’.
After a few months with some early interest in ‘Brand You’ you may want to promote your brand online through some direct profile advertising. Facebook and Google are excellent choices for this marketing exposure since they have built in algorithms for just that.
Don’t forget the Blog, whether it is on ‘Brand You’ website or Word Press make sure that you tag them and share them anytime they will assist you with more exposure.
Maintaining all these social media sites for ‘Brand You’ can suck a lot of time out of your work day, but they need to be kept active if you want ‘Brand You’ to have the success that you dream of in the future. To make it a little easier, there are several amazing social media management tools available online. I personally started using hootsuite after a poor experience with another option several years ago and have had a great experience with them. One of the coolest options is to set up delayed posts so people are not inundated with updates from you all at once.
- G. Keeping ‘Brand You’ fresh
‘Brand You’ is going to be around for a long time, so keep it fresh. In the past I have allowed my brand to get a little stale because I was too busy with other projects, I found I spend more time rebuilding my image than it would have taken the time initially. Even if it is something small, as long as it relates to ‘Brand You’ do it.
If your appearance is part of your image don’t be afraid to mix it up, ask your clients or fans for feedback. Changing your hairstyle, clothing or friend list could jeopardize your current ones.
I hope that the new ‘Brand You’ is amazing and that I may have assisted in its development. I know that I enjoyed refreshing this older blog myself, reminding me of a few things that I need to focus on for Author -A. Dragonblood, The Lord of Lies, with the Sense of Truth
Thank you to Anthony Robbins- Unlimited Power Weekend, Jason Dirks of Meylah.com as well as Chereen Zaki a self described social media geek and Forbes contributor.
A.Dragonblood – The Lord of Lies, with the Sense of Truth.
In addition to storyteller, writer, author and contributor for many publications A. Dragonblood also spends much of his time mentoring young writers and artists through his personal social media as well as visiting schools and festivals. He is an active advocate for local drug free coalition, teen pregnancy education, and animal cruelty awareness. He is also active with reading readiness programs through many libraries where he donates The Children of The Others Collection books and offers free writing workshops.
Over the past six years A. Dragonblood has also worked with schools and public organizations to assist young people with Branding their image. He recognized that many of them were not assisting their cause while looking for jobs and displaying dismal social media personal displays.