Four years ago I came across the term ‘personal branding’ and my senses went on high alert. I wasn’t sure about the label – it smacked of style over substance. All a little too deeply dunked in blatant self-promotion for my taste.
And yet it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I sensed that there was something simply, ridiculously, logical about it all. I started reading all I could get my hands on, beginning with the man who is now attributed with getting the industry on the map. Tom Peters, the Management author, speaker wrote an article for Fast Company Magazine in 1997 “The Brand Called You” where he argued we should manage ourselves as “CEO of Me Inc”. According to a recent article in The Economists’ Intelligent Life “The Big Sell” (worth a read) Tom added that he could see it was a different world coming.
And yes, the world is different – Facebook was only founded four years ago and now has 180m users worldwide according to Trevor Johnson, Head of Market Development, who I recently listened to over a lunch. But is the idea of learning or emulating what comes naturally to the most successful people, different? I think not. How many business books, leadership roadmaps, success formulas are there out there?
In an earlier chapter in my career, I was an executive search consultant. Organisations retained me to find the ideal candidates for various senior management roles. I would always present a shortlist of three to five candidates. And in and amongst the group there would often be a ‘wild card’. Someone who didn’t necessarily tick all the boxes in terms of the brief, but just had that something special. The WOW factor. And these ‘wild cards’ would win the role as often as their perfectly qualified, experienced competitors.
I had always put this down to the right combination of EQ/IQ, and in those days, consumed all that I could get my hands on regarding the illusive qualities of emotional intelligence and leadership (we now add PI, or political intelligence and SI, social intelligence to the mix). All well and good if you want to recognise success and leadership, but not a great deal of help if you want to help others to get there.
I have realised that applying the principles of building a personal brand, which result in us having the impact we need to be successful – is a little like doping athletes. Except its legal. An extraordinary, accelerated, leap-frogging occurs. Take the right combination of raw materials – education, experience, skills, experience, knowledge – and add a dose of self-awareness and self-management. It’s all down to cause and effect. People buy people on an emotional level and when we understand what others find compelling about us, we tend to deliver more of this and less of the stuff that others don’t value.
And so the media debate continues over the value of personal branding. And behind the scenes, young people have already got it. Have a page on facebook? Then your brand is out there and you know that compromising photos of a wild night out, or your opinions of your boss shared with friends may well rule you out of a job or promotion. And if you search twitter, you will find many attributing personal branding to your social and digital media footprint. For me, all of this is the label on the tin – vital, however, if the contents are not the authentic real deal then it will be impossible to keep up the promise offered by smart marketing and PR – on any platform.
Four years in and I hear the words ‘impact’ and ‘personal branding’ constantly bandied about – and yet still too few are delivering real value to the organisations they work for or the clients they serve. I have long been frustrated by the lack of resources, learning, and quality associated with delivery of services. And so, with the support and encouragement of industry colleagues and clients alike, the birth of PIPBA.
PIPBA is for everyone. Well, everyone who has an interest in developing a powerful personal brand and creating the impact they desire. We founded PIPBA to offer the public a trusted source of certified people to deliver coaching, training and speaker services. So you can use us as a reference point to find a certified practitioner, tap into the knowledge, tips and insider info available on our site, attend one of our open events, or even join us as an Affiliate to get a bunch of benefits delivered to you.
And if you are in the personal and professional development fields, you will find all that you need to accelerate your own professional development and to augment the services that you deliver. More importantly, I look forward to all of our continuing professional development as this rapidly growing industry comes of age around the world.