It’s the buzz phrase in marketing. All the cool ‘influencers’ are talking about it. Is Personal Branding all it’s hyped up to be? Not always. Do you need to create one? No. You don’t. You’d be reinventing the wheel…
PERSONAL Branding. Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Tired of previously unheard of self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ telling you why you need to buy their ‘Personal Brand Blueprint’ or book onto their ‘Millionaire Visibility Mastermind Experience’?
I am. Sick of hearing about it, that is.
Let me take that a step further.
I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of slick dudes with big white teeth and yummy mummies telling me how they built a billion dollar lifestyle business by creating a personal brand on Insta/Facebook/LinkedIn/YouTube or Snap.
It’s hogwash. A steaming pile of rancid rubbish. Complete and utter b*llocks.
Want to know why I’m so anti marketing turds (yes — that IS the proper, technical term for them) flogging their personal brand creation programmes and insisting that we swipe our credit cards in their general direction?
Because a personal brand cannot be created. It already exists.
You can absolutely create a BRAND. Think Apple, Amazon, Virgin, Body Shop, hell, even the Five Second Rule (yep — books and movements can be brands too). Logo. Colours. Fonts. Message. Energy. Direction. Ethos. All these elements, and more, go into the creation of a brand.
But a personal brand cannot be created because it’s already a living, breathing entity.
Going back to those big brand names, think about the people (living or dead) we associate with them: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, Mel Robbins. Chances are, when you think of these people, you get a certain ‘flavour’ — a feel for who they are and what they’re about.
That’s personal brand. It’s not created… it’s born! It might develop over time, it might morph — wax and wane, if you like — but it’s already an alive.
Attempting to ‘create’ a personal brand is like reinventing the wheel.
Here’s where all the confusion sets in…
Since ‘personal brand’ has become such a trendy focus of marketing gods and ‘influencers’ everywhere, it’s not surprising that so many have tried to turn it into a commodity.
The second anything becomes popular, some bright spark will attempt to repackage it and sell it as a premium product.
Why wouldn’t they?
All they need to do is get some footage of them sliding out of a private pool to talk directly to camera, strutting around a mansion or posing near a collection of supercars and they have all the proof of brilliance us gullible internet browsing consumers need in order to hand over our cash. Apparently.
It’s not difficult to create a façade of wealth and success, regardless of the number of zeros in our bank account.
And that’s where it all goes wrong.
It’s pretty easy to hire a villa with a pool, shoot some iPhone footage in an amazing building or stroll through someone else’s collection of posh motors — even borrow one for the day. It’s not difficult to create a façade of wealth and success, regardless of the number of zeros in our bank account.
So, assuming some of these apparently successful internet gurus aren’t actually that successful at all, they ostensibly have no problem creating a fake face to show to the word. It’s little wonder they see nothing wrong with telling us we need to swipe our credit card and ‘create’ a personal brand with them!
And that’s not the only scenario where the real face and the mask can actually be quite different. There are gazillion and one scenarios where the picture that’s being painted is quite different to reality… and that’s really not what personal branding is about.
Authenticity is another one of those buzz words that’s been causing a stir in the online ‘coaching’ community.
Have you noticed how many seem to have a problem with the word? Have you noticed how many others then become ‘sheeple’ and begin to leap onto the ‘authenticity bashing’ bandwagon?
Really, when someone starts having a pop at the push towards more authenticity in the messages people put out there, we have to ask why.
Why on earth would anyone in their right mind get irritated by the concept of authenticity?
Unless, of course, they happen to be lacking in that department…
Why on earth would anyone in their right mind get irritated by the concept of authenticity? Unless, of course, they happen to be lacking in that department. It does beg the question, doesn’t it?…
Now, I can totally understand why some might count coup on people who say: “Hey, look at me, I’m really authentic!”.
That’s something entirely different.
We should never have to tell anyone we’re ‘authentic’ — that’s something we display through our actions, not boast about.
But, that’s not what I’m talking about with ‘authenticity bashing’ — that stinks. It often comes from the same posse who take the proverbial out of good people using terms such as ‘heart-based’ too.
To recap, we have people telling us we need to ‘create’ a personal brand, and others in the coaching sphere telling us it’s wrong to go for authenticity.
No wonder there’s confusion around personal branding!
Let’s try to clear up some of that confusion soup right now.
1. You already have a personal brand
You ARE a personal brand. Everything about you. Your message, your story, your ethos — it’s all part of your personal brand.
It’s not about creating one… it’s about making sure that everything you put out in your marketing, on your website, your social streams, your blogs is absolutely true to you.
It’s about allowing the truth of who you are to filter through into everything you put out there — that’s the essence of not CREATING, but BUILDING ON — and magnifying — your personal brand.
2. Authenticity rocks!
It’s ridiculously important to keep things real when you’re putting yourself out there. Share your story — and don’t be tempted to embellish it. I promise you, your story is power-full enough already, and so are you.
If you could just see yourself through my eyes, you would be AMAZED at your beauty, power, wisdom and potential.
3. Be more YOU
It’s so tempting to start modelling yourself on some of the people who’ve inspired you — to want to be the next Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey or Gary V. Trouble is, the reason you admire them so much is that they know who they are and live in their own power. The same will be true for you.
Ironically, the more you try to emulate your idol, the less authentic you will feel and appear — you might be trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps in order to attract a tribe, but you’ll actually be turning people off. Say I! 😉
The more ‘YOU’ you allow yourself to become, the more you’ll vibrate with positive, authentic energy, the more people will tune into you and relate to you and the more successful you’ll become.
3. Visibility and personal brand go hand-in-hand
It’s not just about being true to the essence of who you are — it’s about displaying that wherever you go.
It’s also about being able to strut your stuff, to your own tune, online.
Whether you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Insta, YouTube or Snap. Whether you’re writing a blog, authoring a book, being interviewed on a podcast or appearing on TV or radio. Don’t try to be the person you *think* society wants you to be. Be absolutely YOU.
You’ll need to show up regularly too. Tell your story. Impart wisdom. Create power-full conversations. Stop hiding. Be absolutely, truthfully, energetically, powerfully, unapologetically YOU — every day. And then some.
4. Overnight success rarely happens overnight
Though it’s amazing — and, I believe, absolutely possible — to create a business around something you really love, it probably won’t become hugely profitable overnight.
If you’re going to really work your personal brand and build a business around your passion, you need to be prepared to — sorry to be blunt — eat shit for a few years while you build an audience and get noticed for all the right reasons and by all the right eyeballs.
I had to do the same. We lived off the back of car boot sales and on cheap bread and Aldi baked beans for longer than I care to think about. The good news is, those days are long behind me.
Is it worth it? Yes! I get to live every day as I choose to and get paid for doing the work that doesn’t feel like work and utterly fills me up.
Just remember that the road is sometimes a long one and no amount of Personal Branding Blueprints and Ultra Success Visibility Genius programmes you buy into will speed up the process that much.
To wrap things up…
So, you see, you cannot CREATE a personal brand.
At best, you can decorate a mask — a pretended, doppelganger version of you that’s not really vibrating at a healthy level and won’t serve you well long-term. That mask will eventually start to feel really heavy and cracks will appear.
My advice? Forget the mask. Don’t try to create one or pick one up. Just concentrate on really getting in touch with who you are, getting comfortable with that and showing up as YOU.
It can feel a little uncomfortable at first. We can feel somewhat exposed and vulnerable when we first start to discard our masks and lower our shields, but there’s a real power in vulnerability.
When we allow our real selves to shine, people will connect to us at a much deeper level, believe in us more and be far more willing to consume our content and buy into our message, our products and services.
Got it? Good. If you still have questions, feel free to find me on social media and ping me a message — I’ll always reply if I can.
Do I run workshops and coach people on personal branding and visibility? Yes! But mine are about keeping it real — about bringing the real essence of YOU into your marketing and social profiles. I’m supporting you to be more YOU, not create some influencer-stylee Stepford version.
Sometimes, I team up with others to share knowledge and expertise too, like my friend and fellow branding and visibility geek, Dr Andrea Pennington. We both share a real passion for helping people to bring their magic more fully into the world — particularly healers, therapists, coaches and authors.
I’ll only join forces with people I like, know and trust — see, that’s part of MY personal brand!
Keep it real, baby. Keep. It. Real.
Until next time,
Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.
Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.
She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.