Maximizing Your Personal Brand in The Next Normal
Did the global pandemic of 2020 change everything? I don’t think so. Our view is the shutdown changed nothing. The pace of digital transformation has accelerated since the pandemic. Savvy professionals are tapping the momentum to elevate their personal branding for the next normal. Are you?
We’re roughly five years ahead of schedule. The changes we expected to see mid-decade are already happening. Change creates opportunities for savvy brand builders. The urgency of now requires you to focus on how you want to attract your ideal audience.
There are lots of personal brands with huge followings that need help paying their bills. Don’t be like them. You don’t become an immortal brand by following trends. Find the core of what makes you different and exploit it.
Different is Better Than Better
Technology has democratized entry into almost every field of endeavor. While the barriers to entry are low, quality is more elusive than ever. Your certifications aren’t unique. Your educational background isn’t a selling point. So, what makes you stand out from everyone else?
There are three dimensions to defining your uniqueness:
- What have you done? Your experiences matter. What results did you achieve in unique situations? What failures did you gain the most insights? Did you publish your findings to help others improve?
- What are you doing? Your current work matters. Are you deepening your expertise to be the authority in your market? How much of your work product is public so others can study your results?
- How are you winning? Success follows a pattern. It is never random. Have you created a framework, blueprint, or system that makes excellent performance repeatable? Who knows about it?
The critical aspect of each dimension is whether other people know about what you do. You might be phenomenal at your craft. However, if no one knows about you, it does help your branding.
You don’t become an immortal brand by following trends.
—CAM EVANS, MBA
Becoming a Known Quantity
During my tenure at Microsoft, our leadership team often discussed the talent across the organization. Leaders would discuss the people on their team and their contributions. The worst response during those meetings was another leader across the country asking, “Who are you talking about?” Being unknown doesn’t get you rewards, raises, or promotions.
In a word, you need to be a known quantity in your field. That only happens when you show and share your work. Experts can no longer afford to operate in a vacuum. Surprisingly, this still happens.
You can’t show up after three years like the Apostle Paul and suddenly write authoritative books on your industry. In short, you need to build your content platform publicly so your audience can learn your process. Your public authenticity will add to your known credibility.
Real Experts Are Unselfishingly Helpful
Sharing knowledge is culturally and generationally different. Boomers often refused to share their knowledge with anyone. They believed their expertise provided job security as long as they held it close. That doesn’t work anymore.
Also, Black culture doesn’t always share knowledge within its community. Each generation is left to relearn lessons for themselves. This waste prevents communities from building themselves up faster.
From a branding perspective, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to break cultural norms regardless of age or background. The opportunity is to become the primary source of helpful information for your tribe.
There are two essential aspects of helpful information:
- Can your audience rely on the information to improve their situation? Reliable information is useful.
- Does your audience cite you as the source of the information in your community? Authoritative sources are remarkable.
You can’t build expertise in a vacuum.
—CAM EVANS, MBA
Personal Branding Action Plan
- Harvest your own experiences to position your unique value for your audience.
- Develop and share your frameworks for success so others can test and implement them in their work.
- Avoid operating in a vacuum. Publish your insights to the public regularly.
- Don’t let the old guard lock you into selfishness. Share your knowledge in your communities.
- Be the primary source for new, original, and helpful information for your tribe.
Without a doubt, the world is moving at an accelerated pace. Your personal branding must keep pace with change or get left behind. The next normal requires a daily commitment. Are you ready to build a world-class content platform that shares your expertise, insights, and experiences with your audience?