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Whether we realize it or not, we are all brands. We all have qualities that shape and influence how the people in our lives see us—and how we see ourselves. Nationally respected brand experts Jerry Wilson and Ira Blumenthal have helped some of the most exceptional companies and individuals in the world perfect their images. Now, in Managing Brand You, they reveal their proven seven-step process for personal brand building. Using illuminating examples from successful corporations like Coca-Cola and Starbucks as well as high-profile celebrities like Bono and Oprah, Managing Brand You gives readers a step-by-step guide for conducting a self analysis, creating a unique identity, defining their objectives, discovering their passions, creating a plan, putting that plan into action, and monitoring their progress. Wise and insightful, this book will help readers identify what it is that makes them unique and communicate it in a way that guarantees them success.
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Jerry S. Wilson (Atlanta, GA) is a noted speaker and senior vice president at The Coca-Cola Company.
Ira Blumenthal (Atlanta, GA) is a highly respected brand consultant, author, speaker, and university educator who has counseled high-profile brand clients such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Marriott, Nestlé, and American Airlines.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
INTRODUCTION: WHAT BRANDING
CAN DO FOR YOU
“If you want to predict the future, create it.”
—PETER F. DRUCKER
WHAT DO SUCCESSFUL CONSUMER-GOODS companies
know that could help transform your life? And how can you use
this knowledge to become a more fulfilled person? The answers to
these questions lie in the discipline of building strong brands.
What if you could take a page right out of the corporate book of
business development and use it to craft and implement dramatic,
important changes in yourself that are focused on development
of your own life? Successful brands convey a consistent
message and create an emotional bond with consumers. Don’t we
all want to convey a consistent message and create a similar emotional
bond with those important people around us? Absolutely!
The process of building such brands is widely used in the commercial
world, and now you, too, can use these techniques to
build a brand-new you—a Brand YOU!
W H AT I F YO U T H O U G H T O F
YO U R S E L F A S A B R A N D ?
Who am I? What do I stand for? What do I want to stand for?
These are questions that have been asked by people for ages. In
our fast-paced, highly competitive, stressful, often chaotic
world, it is even more difficult to know what you stand for—
what uniqueness you have to offer. Don’t stress about this any
longer. There is an answer to these deep questions, and the answer
comes in the form of the threshold question, What if you
thought of yourself as a brand?
What if you not only think of yourself as a brand but also actively
analyze your personal brand assets and deficits, and you dedicate
yourself to changing or refining Brand YOU? Yes, as strange
as it seems, you can dramatically change and grow your life by
studying the time-tested precepts, postulates, discipline, and
processes of corporate and product branding, and applying them
to your personal life. This step can lead to your living the life
you’ve always imagined for yourself.
In the wonderful Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, Kris
Kringle tells a disbelieving child that dreaming of magical holiday
moments and a better tomorrow is important. He says, “To me,
the imagination is a place all by itself . . . a separate country. Now
you’ve heard of the French nation, the British nation . . . well, this
is the Imagi-nation. It’s a wonderful place.” It’s time for you to
now book passage on a trip to the magical, mystical “land of imagination.”
Building a Brand YOU requires that you dig deep into
your imagination and visualize what you want to stand for and
what spaces in life and business you want to occupy.
So, what if you thought of yourself as a brand? Just imagine,
for a moment, that you are, in fact, a brand. Step outside yourself
and look at you, your background, your lifestyle, your philosophy
of life, and your views on right and wrong, as well as the expressions
you use, the stores you frequent, the foods you eat, the
clothes you wear. Think of your educational background, your
experiences, your special areas of expertise. Consider the features
that others respect about you, the features of people you
respect and why. These are your personal brand attributes. And
now you’ve made the first move toward establishing your Brand
B U I L D I N G A N E W B R A N D YO U
Yes, you can create your future. It’s in your hands. If you commit
to the Brand YOU process, you can and will succeed. It will take
work. It will take focus. It will take time. And in the end, it will
all be worth it. In the words of the poet Spirella, “There’s no
thrill in easy sailing . . . but there is satisfaction that’s mighty
sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you thought
you’d never make.”
Why is personal branding so important to you? You may be
someone who doesn’t believe in “tooting your own horn”—or
drawing attention to the things you’ve done, or do, or plan on doing.
You may also believe that if you just do the best you can, good
things will automatically come to you. Well, this may be the case
for a few lucky individuals, but the majority of people are confused
about how they can, in fact, stand out in a crowd, how they
can succeed, how they can clearly stand for something, and how
they can gain the respect of others. After all, there are times in all
of our lives when we’d like to be noticed, to be appreciated for our
personal strengths, competencies, good nature, and insight. Everybody
wants to be special and receive respect, acknowledgment, and
even admiration from others. The reality is that each of us, regardless
of our position in life, wants to be special, hopes to be noticed,
craves attention from others, desires respect, and regularly wants
to feel important. Who doesn’t want to feel (and be) important?
And who doesn’t want to make a mark on the world we live in, to
truly make a difference to the people around us? It’s human nature
to want to make a difference, whether it’s to your family, your
significant other, your children, your friends, your business, your
community, your house of worship.
Who doesn’t want to feel (and be) important? And who
doesn’t want to leave a mark on the world we live in
and truly make a difference to those around us?
Personal branding is relevant to anyone who wants to unleash
his or her inner passions and proactively build a fulfilling future,
as well as grow in importance, relevance, and reputation. Too
many people are just floating down the river of life, expecting that
everything will work out in the long run. But why settle for the
possibility of life’s taking care of itself when you can draw the
roadmap that captures the kind of life you envision for yourself?
Why not create your own future? It’s cute, it’s funny, and certainly
it’s an example that reinforces what we’ve all known throughout
our lives. Too many times in our lives we seem to be waiting for
something to just pour into our mouths or fall into our hands—or
for challenges to just work themselves out in the nick of time. But
life isn’t like that. When changes and challenges confront us, doing
nothing will result in—nothing. Business guru and author
Price Pritchett wrote, “More of the same gives you one thing . . .
more of the same!”
We have to become more proactive, more energetic, more spirited,
and more focused on making positive changes in our lives. After
all, there are only three things a person can do when confronted
with change. Ignore it. React to it. Make other changes. Now, ignoring
it will lead to disaster. Did you ever have a toothache? What
happens if you ignore that biological change in your mouth? It
doesn’t get better; it gets worse. The second strategy, reacting to
change, will keep a person at status quo and he or she will survive.
But is just surviving enough? Of course not. You want to thrive.
You want to succeed, to achieve.
Then there’s the final strategy in dealing with change: making
other changes. Yes, you want to be a catalyst for change—a change
agent, as business consultant Peter Drucker has said—to create
your future. One theme throughout this book is simply stated as
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me!” Being proactive, being committed to
building your personal brand, will allow you to:
Identify your inner passions and core essence.
Stand up for what is important to you and stand out
in the crowd.
Focus your energy on meeting your top priorities.
Stop spending time doing things that do not excite you.
Execute your own personal Brand YOU plan.
Achieve fulfillment, personal success, and, ultimately,
There are only three things you can do when
confronted with change.You can ignore it.
You can react to it.You can make other changes.
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