If you’re familiar with Sam Horn’s bestselling book, ‘POP! Stand Out in any Crowd‘, then you will have a head start on appreciating the kind of ‘POP culture’ we’re about to explore together.
An influential personal brand is a heady and unpredictable mix. If it were a recipe, I’m convinced it would be one of those fiercely guarded family secrets dating back hundreds of years. For this reason, while many have tried, few succeed in capturing in writing the essential X-Factor elements for success. It’s a big ask, but I hope to change all of that for you, right here, right now. Ready?
Through closely monitoring a wide range of successful individuals over the years, ranging from musicians and entrepreneurs to social change activists and politicians, I have observed that what each of them possesses is a rich personal blend of the following magical ingredients:
The exact measurements are down to their own unique style of course, but here is Ben’s Breakdown — a guide for your delight and delectation designed to stir (sorry, steer) you in the right direction for creating an intoxicating personal brand for yourself or your spokesperson to serve up to clients.
The Personal Branding Guide to X-Factor Ingredients!
1. Define your personal niche and consider marketing yourself with a title.
While a spicy title isn’t essential to making you POP, a well-defined niche definitely is. What a great title (e.g. ‘Ms Megabyte‘) does do is suggest that a niche exists to be catered for in the first place (tech knowledge delivered with a woman’s personal touch). Although Peter Sheahan does not use a stage name per se, he did carefully define his niche by self-branding as the leading thinker on an emerging trend, namely Gen Y. The more specific you can be, the more inclined people are to view you as ‘The expert in…’
2. “You bloody LEGEND!”
Every industry has its idols (you may even be surprised to know this is not merely confined to Simon Fuller’s singing comp format for Channel TEN). The only question is: do you want to be one, or follow one?
Societies the world over revere their leading thinkers (Einstein), activists (Mandela) and troublemakers (Darwin, Ghandi) in religion, politics, business, music and so on. It takes guts to pave the way and be ahead of your time, though. Most of these figures’ true worth is celebrated in retrospect when the enormity and value of their contribution is borne out in the decades that follow. But if you have the potential to become a leading light within your industry, my advice is: go for it! All you need is a willingness to change what’s not working and the wherewithal to stand by your message regardless of the temporary backlash.
3. Same niche, new angle
What you first set out to be known for (‘Sleeping your way to the Top in Business‘, for example) will inevitably evolve over time as your customers do. This is a journey you embark on together, with you acting as the tour guide. Get known for your expertise by approaching your niche from one angle and then expand over time to reinforce your message in fresh and engaging ways. The idea is to keep people guessing as to what brilliant new angle you’ll come up with to help them understand more about the niche next (e.g. my next book might be called, ‘Dumping the Clients You’re Just Not That Into’ . Hey — that’s pretty good, I like that!)
4. “Is it in yet?” (Amplifying your personal expression)
Personal branding is self-expression amplified to influence and command attention. So walk into a room with your head held high and invite others to connect with the ‘real you’. Turn it up or tone it down to reflect the environment you’re in, but for heaven’s sake, make sure you get noticed! Express your sense of humour, incite emotions, create a stir. You’ll soon learn to gauge when you’ve gone too far… or not far enough.
Have you got the heart for it?
Personal branding certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. My own process of branding has seen me publicly criticised in the past week for my view points on; sexuality, depression and suicide. Why was I criticised? Because I had the gumption to address these critical issues at a year 12 Graduation Ceremony I presented at last week.
In branding yourself, you are putting yourself in a position where individuals feel they have the right to judge you. And boy will they judge you if they disagree with you or simply don’t like you. It is only when you falter that you give them leverage to take you out in one fell swoop if your area of expertise is, at times, controversial.
Learn to deal with criticism and understand that for every negative comment there are hundreds of positives. Stand strong with your message and be prepared to bend to the wind if need be, or they’ll snap you like a twig.
For more personal branding advice, purchase a copy of Ben Angel’s new book, Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business. Click Here to Grab Your Copy Today!