Let’s Talk Personal Branding
It was suggested I write a post on personal branding by our social media expert, Stefanie Mitchell (@StefCherelle_), of S. Mitchell Marketing. And because I know enough to surround myself with people smarter than me, I said, “Yes ma’am.” So hey, here it is!
King Dave of Ann Arbor
For years, I’ve called myself King Dave of Ann Arbor. And, while it’s true I love Treetown, the origin of that self-proclaimed title isn’t exactly a heartfelt one. You see, to put it delicately, I like pushing buttons.
One day, I was sitting at Conor O’Neill’s with a woman I was interested in. She asked me a question about the area and, knowing the answer, I responded immediately. She looked at me almost bewildered and asked, “How do you know so much about Ann Arbor?” Knowing it would push her buttons, and not in a good way, I replied, “Because I’m the king of Ann Arbor.”
Clearly my flirting game needs help.
What started as a button-pushing joke has turned into a six-year personal branding experiment. And it’s been pretty successful. It’s been so successful in fact, that I gave a talk last year where someone asked if I wanted to be the mayor of Ann Arbor. About half the room answered for me, “Why would he want to be the mayor when he’s already the king?” It was enough to make an egomaniac proud.
Maybe Wiki and Forbes Know What’s Up
According to Wikipedia, “Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.”
Is it me, or does “self-packaging” sound like a gimmick? Are you a gimmick? Because in the end, your personal brand is, well, you.
Forbes did better with 7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand. The ideas are good, with my only real complaint being the heading of the seventh thing: Reinvent. The description under reinvent is great, but the title makes you think of just forgetting everything about yourself and starting over. And that’s kind of the opposite of a personal brand.
Still, I think The Forbes article’s too complicated.
I think a personal brand is all about being yourself. It’s all about authenticity.
Your Personal Brand Must be Authentically You
“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” -Simon Mainwaring
Make no mistake – to be a great entrepreneur, and to build a great business, you must be authentic. You must be true to yourself. In fact, we demand authenticity out of our clients, because we know the businesses we build around them won’t be nearly as successful without it.
Let’s talk about me some more, since I’m such a fascinating individual. Stop rolling your eyes! *ahem*
I’m a smartass. I don’t hide it. It’s a fundamental part of who I am. I also give a damn. Specifically, I give a damn about helping you, the entrepreneurs of the world. I live and work primarily in Ann Arbor, and I know branding. I also make no bones about the fact my idiocy grows exponentially the further away from the topic of branding I get.
Now let’s talk about Mayniax Branding.
It’s a smartass. It doesn’t hide it. It’s a fundamental part of who Mayniax Branding is. It also gives a damn. Specifically, Mayniax Branding gives a damn about helping you, the entrepreneurs of the world. It’s based in Ann Arbor, and knows branding. And it knows brand strategy well enough to know its only focus should be on branding.
You see what I did there?
Figuring Out Your Personal Brand
A personal brand isn’t difficult. It really is, simply, who you actually are. The trick is, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, figuring out who you actually are, then finding something you love to do that aligns with that.
I told you I’m a smartass with a fundamental need to help entrepreneurs, and branding is the way I do that. That’s my personal brand in its simplest form. So, use that as an template, and come up with a basic description of who you are fundamentally, along with a list of things you’re passionate about. And when you get that done, you’ll have your personal brand.
Once you have your personal brand, all you have to do is keep it consistent, and simple, across the board. Easy, right? Seriously, almost everyone out there makes things far more complicated than they are. And that makes them bad, bad people.
So sayeth King Dave of Ann Arbor!
Stay gutsy, gang!