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Navigating the World of Personal Branding: An Essential Guide

In today’s bustling digital age, the concept of personal branding has transcended beyond mere buzzwords, evolving into a crucial element of our professional and personal identities. It’s a theme that’s not only timely but resonates with virtually everyone in our hyper-connected world. Let’s delve into the fascinating realm of personal brand names and styles, a topic that might initially seem mundane but unfolds layers of relevance and significance upon closer examination.

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The Impact of Everyday Challenges on Your Brand

Imagine this scenario: You’ve overslept because your alarm failed to go off, you’re scrambling to get ready for work, your hair is a mess, you’ve no time for makeup, your perfect outfit remains unworn, and to top it off, you’ve missed your morning coffee. Now, ask yourself, is this the image you want your personal brand to reflect? Or consider another scenario where you’re underprepared for an impending presentation or a crucial exam. The stress and frazzle; is that the message you want to send out into the world?

The Importance of Intentionality in Personal Branding

It’s easy to shrug off and say, “But this is who I am, with all my quirks and eccentricities.” In a world that champions authenticity, that should suffice, right? Not quite. While being true to oneself is invaluable, there’s a compelling argument for being more intentional and mindful about our personal brand. It’s not about masking our true selves but rather about curating and presenting the best version of ourselves, especially on our good days. This doesn’t mean hiding our flaws but highlighting our strengths and the qualities we wish to be known for.

What do I want to be known for? Who am I that’s going to resonate with my followers with my audience?”

The Five Brand Personalities: Crafting Your Unique Brand

Jennifer Aker, in a landmark article in the Journal of Marketing Research, introduced five brand personalities: Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness. Each comes with its own set of attributes and appeals to different audiences. Sincerity embodies wholesomeness and integrity, while Excitement is all about youthfulness and creativity. Competence stands for reliability and skill, Sophistication exudes elegance and grace, and Ruggedness represents toughness and adventure.

Safeguarding Your Brand in the Digital Age

In the age of AI, deep fakes, and rampant identity theft, knowing and consistently communicating your brand’s attributes can serve as a shield against misrepresentation. This is especially critical for public figures or those in positions where their identity could be easily manipulated.

The Art of Brand Differentiation and Expansion

But what happens when your personal brand, built meticulously over the years, starts to feel limiting? Or when you wish to explore avenues that might not align with your established brand persona? This is where the art of brand differentiation comes into play. It might be worthwhile to consider branching out under a different brand name for new ventures that don’t fit your current brand narrative. This allows you to preserve the authenticity and integrity of your personal brand while giving you the freedom to experiment and expand into new territories.

Conclusion: The Lasting Impact of a Well-Crafted Personal Brand

Consider Jessica Alba and her Honest brand. The name allowed her to explore product lines that stood for honesty and transparency, without diluting her personal brand or overshadowing her identity.

In conclusion, personal branding isn’t just about self-promotion; it’s about intentional self-presentation and strategic identity management. Whether you lean towards Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, or Ruggedness, the key is consistency and authenticity. As you evolve and your career or personal goals shift, it’s essential to reassess your brand and ensure it aligns with your current path. Personal branding, when done right, is not just about making a good impression; it’s about making a lasting impact.


Mike Carr (00:01): 

Today I have sort of a special treat for you, sort of a different topic, but I think it’s very timely and one that probably everybody watching or listening is going to find interesting. It has to do with the types of brand names, styles. You may say, well, that doesn’t sound that interesting, but if you put personal in front of it, what’s your personal brand name style? Then maybe it becomes more relevant and more real. Now, you may think, well, my brand name, if I’m using my personal name, is just who I am. And in today’s world of being authentic and being true to you, that’s it, right? If I just convey who I am with all my weirdness, my eccentricities, that’s all I need to do. We don’t think so, right? We think being a little bit more mindful and a little bit more intentional about who you are really is the key to success moving forward. 


So think about you wake up this morning, alarm clock didn’t go off. You’re late to work, or your hair’s a mess. You don’t have time to put on your makeup or put on that great clean suit or shirt. You miss your coffee and you’re just all stressed out. Is that really what you want your personal brand to reflect? Or you’ve got a big presentation coming up in two hours, two hours, and you haven’t prepared properly or that big final test. And man, you haven’t done all the prep for that either. And so again, you’re sort of stressed out and you’re a bit frazzled. So thinking about not so much what you look like on your bad days, but maybe when you’re having that good day, right, when you’re a little bit more positive, when you’ve got your act together, that to us is maybe a little bit more about what that personal brand or even that company brand on the good days or that product brand, when we’ve got everything honing and the reviews are coming in and everybody loves what we’re doing, you sort of have to do that curation, that crafting, that tailoring. 


What do I want to be known for? Who am I that’s going to resonate with my followers with my audience? So Jennifer Aker years ago and the Journal of Marketing Research wrote an article about the five brand personalities. I thought this was interesting. There may be another one or two out there, and there may be some combination that best fits you. But when you think about crafting your brand, especially your personal brand, and especially in this age of AI and deep fakes and all kinds of problems with people stealing your identity, especially for famous or creating something about you that you never said or an image about you that’s really off brand, knowing what you stand for, knowing what those brand attributes 


And being very consistent in reflecting those and in communicating those is perhaps a way to protect you from the deep fakes that AI makes so easy now to create. So here are the five that Jennifer came up with and some of the attributes associated with each one that we want you to think about. So sincerity, things like wholesomeness, integrity, warmth and honesty. So think about folks that you feel are very sincere and they come across as just high integrity people you can trust. The second one’s excitement, youthfulness often is associated with something that’s exciting. Energy, creativity, cheekiness, playfulness. Do you want to sort of be known as that exciting, fun person or competent? You’re very reliable. You’re very consistent, you’re skillful, you’re accomplished, you’re intelligent. High dexterity, you’re agile, you’re nimble. You can respond without getting all stressed out to whatever comes up. Competent in most areas is key, right? 


You get the job done, you’re professional, you do it the right way. Sophistication, elegance, luxuriousness, exclusivity, gracefulness. J LO’s got a new thing out on Prime and it, she has I think, a sophisticated image, at least on some of the movies that she’s done. But she also has some things that fall into these other areas, and that’s a very, very carefully curated, crafted brand persona. And the last one that Jennifer Ker mentioned was Ruggedness. Ruggedness, outdoorsy, tough, adventuresome. You think about your favorite superheroes today and the fascination with superheroes in general. They tend to be rugged, right? They tend to be durable and strong. Both gals and guys have these characteristics that you really aspire to. They can weather any storm they can defeat any problem. So these are five brand personality types that we think you ought to consider when you’re building your brand and maybe when you’re growing your brand. 


And the last thing I wanted to mention today was especially if it’s a personal brand, how far do you want to grow that brand versus when do you want to opt out of using your own name and maybe going with a different name, a brand name, a product name, a company name. Now you may say, why would I ever want to do that, right? The personal brand’s who I am, I’ve got a lot of followers. Why would I ever want to divorce something that I’m doing from my personal brand? Well, it may come to dilution, right? If you’re really known as that rugged, macho, strong guy, and all of a sudden you want to sort of move into an area 


That’s maybe not associated with those attributes, right? Maybe it’s something more about a nerdy tech guy. So coming up with a different name there, keeps your personal brand true to who it is or who you are, and at the same time lets you play in a different space. Jessica Alba did this, I think with her honest brand, not that she’s a dishonest person, but it allowed her to do some things with some of the products that probably stay true to what honest stands for, but didn’t get in the way of what her personal brand is all about. So just to recap, there are five brand personalities, primary brand personalities, at least according to Jennifer Ker. They are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Pick the one that best suits you. Stay true to that, whether it’s your personal brand or has to do with your company brand or perhaps even a product brand. And then as you move forward and grow into new areas, always consider do you want to continue to use that brand or do you maybe want to come up with something different that protects the authenticity and the integrity of your original brand, your personal brand, but then lets you try and experiment and grow in some other areas. 

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