After we have briefly clarified the essential principle of personal branding in the last article, many are probably already in the starting blocks, scratching their hooves and finally want to get started. Yay, there’s the Internet. If you surf for a while, you’ll come across a few email guides or personal branding canvases relatively quickly. Of course, these offerings are free, but in my opinion they lead you in the wrong direction from the start.
Before I solve the puzzle, briefly on the questions in the canvas or email guides that I personally find problematic:
- How do others perceive you? You are supposed to answer this question with friends and acquaintances. Hand on heart, who do you ask? But not the one with whom you don’t get along or with whom you fell out years ago. And this brings us to the first trap. A key insight from social psychology is that people prefer to surround themselves with people who have similar attitudes, views and values to their own. The potential for discovering serious opportunities for improvement and deficits is marginal. In this case, a comparison with product development is allowed, because you get much more interesting input from non-customers than from long-term, loyal customers. I sometimes see the latter as very generous in overlooking certain bugs, while this is not the case with the former. This was one of the most interesting learning effects during my time at Siemens.
- In combination with the question just discussed, you then find the hint that you don’t have to take every opinion to heart. What a wonderful invitation to pick out only what fits into one’s own world view. Or, to put it very harshly: a guide to deceiving oneself.
- then it usually goes into a self-analysis of one’s strengths, weaknesses, reason whys, benefits, etc. If you have a canvas in front of you, then you can delightfully write something in each column. And when the blackness level of the sheet increases, you eventually put the pen aside and are quite proud of having accomplished a lot. Yuppidu, your own personal brand is almost in place. Let’s move on to the final spurt of self-analysis.
- What image do you have at the moment and what image would you like to have in the future? This question may make sense for artists who can position themselves autonomously. But if you are a self-employed person looking for customers or a future employee, your image must not only match your job profile, but also your customers. Just as the strengths, benefits, etc. must fit the customer’s requirements profile and not just exist in the customer’s own imagination.
Navel gazing as a personal branding tool? Does that work?
The catch in all of these questions is the navel-gazing itself. If you are completely honest with yourself, this approach can lead you in the right direction, but I have my doubts about that. Therefore, respect to anyone who can objectively assess themselves with these questions. Nevertheless, these approaches are very popular because they don’t hurt. You look at your personal branding canvas and decide: I’m great, and I have to change a little bit, too. But in doing so, you give away a great opportunity to seriously do something for your own competitiveness. To stay with my metaphor of the journey: DomRep-all-inclusive or couch surfing in Africa? Am I leaving my comfort zone or do I really want to get significantly (!) better?
Is there another way? Yes, of course, in marketing there are so many tools with which you can gradually – even without a consultant – approach a authentic, credible and competitive core of your own personal brand. And, which tools are these?
As always, you should stop just when it’s most exciting and that brings us to today’s cliffhanger. The next post is about reference points that you should definitely consider so that you’re running in the right direction right from the start.
Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.
More about Personal Branding…
- Personal Branding: Coaching. Part 4
- Personal Branding: Coaching. Part 3
- Personal Branding: Coaching. Part 2
- Personal Branding: Coaching
- Personal branding for the visual arts: the importance of the artistic work.
- Personal Branding for the Visual Arts.
- 4 questions that will make your personal branding project go down the drain.
- Personal Branding, a journey?
- Personal Branding for musicians.
- Personal Branding for Artists – the entire study.