When I stepped off the airplane for my first visit to Bangkok in 1996, I had my backpack and US$300. It was night time, it was steaming hot and I was stuck in traffic for hours. What mess did I get myself into? Little did I know that this city would become my home and the birthplace of my most successful business, Vivaldi PR.
Things were not always so rosy for me. I needed a personal branding makeover. Partly though bad luck and partly due my own failings I had three lost jobs and had two failed businesses, which taught me a tough lesson about the importance of A, B, C and Ds of Personal Branding – Authenticity, Being the Best, Communication and Daring to Change.
I’ve learned lessons the hard way about what it takes to turn around your personal brand, and just what that can mean for your success.
Personal branding may be a relatively newly-coined concept, but it’s one worth putting stock into. There’s no denying public relations is moving towards a more digital-centric future and, that means we need to hone a public persona more carefully than before. As the oft quoted Warren Buffet, the most successful investor of the 20th century famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a good reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it”. That may be even quicker these days, thanks to social media…
Your Brand Is What People Say about You When You’re Not in the Room
Your personal brand is your reputation, and a good reputation can lead to respect, admiration and trust, while a bad one leads to notoriety and distrust. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos once said.
One of the most important things to consider when managing your personal branding is authenticity. It’s a subject personal branding expert and popular keynote speaker, Mike Robbins, author of ‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken’ strongly believes in.
Authenticity Means Lowering your Guard
In both the book and his TedX speech, The Power of Authenticity, Robbins indicates the importance of authenticity. Over time, Robbins says we are prone to pick up behaviours which sensor our honesty, in order to avoid hurting people’s feelings or giving too much of ourselves away but, if we can overcome those barriers, he suggests it’s a powerful communication tool; authenticity is about letting people know who you are and what you really feel.
That said, Robbins is careful to point out that expressing opinions is a low level aspect of that process; there’s a fine line between being authentic and just being plain obnoxious. Work out your values and make sure they’re always at the core of your actions; you don’t have to push your opinions on everyone all the time.
The takeaway is that, though it takes courage, honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable in order to be authentic, that’s something that translates to improved communication, respect and trust.
Click here to find out why being the best is an integral part to your personal branding.