Someone once told me that I, Brian Deagon, am a brand. It was pointed out because I had posted something silly and racy on my Facebook page and that it tarnished my reputation.
She was right and I decided then to not do stupid things like that anymore, or at least try anyway.
I hadn’t thought about me being a brand, but it’s true. As a business journalist I interview some of the smartest people on the planet. Those stories then reach a national audience. There is little margin for error and my reputation is a stake.
And what I do also reflects on the company I work for, and that truly is a major brand.
Then I was thinking that all of us, including you, are each a unique and individual brand. What I learned the other night is that if we fail to clearly define who we really are while aiming to be consistent, genuine and authentic, then other people will define us, and that might not always be good.
“Who is your target audience and do they really want what you have to offer,” said Donna Estes Antebi, speaking to a group of people in Los Angeles who are trying to launch their own business.
Antebi is an authentic brand. She recently published her first book, “The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper.” She’s also an entrepreneur, a certified life coach, marriage mentor and motivational speaker who also does work for charity (I started reading her book last night and it’s been a real educational thrill ride).
In her speech to students enrolled in the L.A. chapter of Founder Institute, her message pertained to starting a business, but I suppose it applies to me and you personally as well.
Looking at it from the personal angle this is what we need to think about:
What is our mission in life and who do we want to serve? Who do we hang out with and what does that say about us?
Listening to Antebi, I came to understand that we must learn about and improve our own personal brand. This could include attending seminars and conventions with the goal of expanding our professional network.
“Guard, protect and maintain your personal brand,” she said. “Take a look at your social network profiles and remove the party photos.”
You know which ones. All that stuff can be grabbed and distributed. Is this really what we want the world to see of us, Charlie Sheen?
The second speaker that night was Sam Saddigh, CEO of Knightsbridge Branding, whose clients have included Jaguar and Neutrogena. He said our brand is all about integrity. And we can build that brand at a marginal cost “but the impact is huge. It’s imperative you create the right perception.”
Do all this well and our value proposition increases. We are not just regular coffee, We Are Starbucks! We are not just another pair of blue jeans. We Are Diesel!
I can feel my engine running now.
Saddigh said brand awareness is all about engagement, involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence.
“Those are all touch points,” he said.
So think about it. Who are you? What do you want to be? How do you want to be seen?
Let’s get to work and may the best brand win!