We’re at in interesting time in professional branding. Few are questioning that they need to work on building a personal brand, but most still want to know how. How do you suddenly become a master storyteller about the one thing that is hardest to talk about—yourself?
Let’s look at building a brand from the perspective of sharing the things you love, the things you care about, or the things you enjoy. For example, let’s look at how building a brand can be like creating and sharing a playlist of your favorite songs.
- Specific Tastes — Some of us have very specific tastes. We might only like rock, pop, or rap. We don’t venture far from our core tastes, but we know what we like, and we know it well. We’ve become sort of an expert on that genre, or favorite artist. We’ve identified the others that share our tastes. Seth Godin would say they are part of our “tribe.”
- Eclectic Tastes — Some of us have more eclectic tastes in music. You might jump from Classical to The Cure, or Count Basie to Coldplay. For you, there is something they all have in common, but most may not share your interest for this much variety.
- Casual Tastes — Some of you aren’t that into the details of music, but you still like to listen to music. You’re happy to let your others curate your mix. Your casual approach means you’re more likely to listen to what’s popular. You know what you like and there is often a channel or service to cater to you.
When we share our favorite playlist, artist, or radio station, we are making a statement about our interests. Let’s look next at how these types above might build their brand. You may see yourself in one of these or all three at different times for different topics.
- Specific Tastes — Your focus gives you incredible depth and the ability to share your insights on topics you care about. Your interests are easy to identify, which makes your brand easy to identify. With your specific niche, people either love what you share or they just don’t care. That’s OK, because you can’t please everyone. You’re happy to share your insights with those who also appreciate it. When branding, your depth of expertise would indicate you should be sharing your insights in comments on other’s blogs, your compnay blog, and even an eBook. For professional branding, share your areas of expertise that your clients would find valuable.
- Eclectic Tastes — Your variety means you often can find something in common with a wide range of people. That helps you build a larger circle of friends and followers, but it can also make it hard for people to know where you are coming from. While most people can find something they like within your areas of interest, many find it hard to stay with you. In branding, it’s important to share why you find the things you post of interest and just as importantly, how they connect to their own interests. In professional branding, help connect the dots for potential clients so they can understand how this could relate to their own interests.
- Casual Tastes — Your casual approach makes you more inclined to scan the mainstream media to keep up with your interests. You may not have the desire to go very deep on a topic, but you still run across good articles worth sharing. In branding, your casual approach may not lead to writing an eBook or blog post, but you can still be viewed as someone who knows what’s going on, by sharing those articles that you find interesting. Be sure to add a brief comment on why you found this of interest, and why someone else may too. In professional branding, keep an eye out for the things your potential clients would find of value.
To build a brand, you need to be willing to share what you care about. The easiest things to share are content already created by someone else, which you feel are worth sharing. The next step is to share our own insights and opinions. That can be as simple as a comment or as in-depth as your own eBook.
Does it need to be “all work” related? Preferably not. The most interesting professional people come across as human beings. For better or worse, their personalities and personal interests come through.
In business and sales, you’re creating a brand for potential prospects to be open to connecting with you. What is the right mix of your professional and personal interests to share?