CEO of You Ltd (or unlimited!) and brand manager too!
Tom Peters statement: “Communication is everything” pops up often in my seminars. When it’s time to explain who is Tom, I always tell the audience that they all should read The Brand Called You.
If you haven’t read it yet, it was published in 1997, I prompt you to do so. And to consider that business world has radically changed since then. To be more accurate the world is changed. Back in the day there were no social networks and neither Google (founded next year). So you may ask yourself, is it still valid what Peters says? I believe so, and even more. LinkedIn, Facebook and all other modern communication media (Telegram included) actually do amplify the concepts presented in that essay, and more than anything else, they are a terrific platform to manage, promote and support the “brand called you”.
Let’s quickly recap the main points presented by Tom in the column, siding them with some considerations on today.
The working world changed.
As a matter of fact the permanent employment is a thing of the past (whatever that meant). Job positions evolve rapidly, the same is true for companies and markets. All the cycles are quicker and none is able to guarantee that a product, a service, a company, or even a whole market, will be there in the long term. As a natural consequence that applies back to the job positions. I believe is not a transitory thing, and thus, I, you, everyone of us, shouldn’t remit the responsibility of his own career to a company or any other third party. We should have full ownership of it, keeping our desirability high on the marketplace. This means acquiring new useful skills (and competences) and also actively looking out for new opportunities. Both those activities are prone to failure if there’s no perception of them by the others. Perception is reality, enter the personal brandconcept.
When you walk into a shop to buy a cheese, a t-shirt or a phone you have plenty of choice. What is making you gravitate towards one product or the other? How important is the brand? What is it saying to you? How relevant is your past experience with that particular brand, or the advice from a trusted person? What are you wearing right now? Glance at your shoes or your watch, is there a logo?
You are unique on this planet (well, every single human being since the dawn of human race is)! It’s a tremendous opportunity, as long as you are able to relate it to the outer world. Nobody is looking for you: they are out for a good lawyer, an effective salesperson, a digital marketing expert or an architect who knows commercial estates. If you limit yourself to your job title, your degree, or any other GENERIC label, you are devaluing who you are. Tom Peters is telling you to do the same exercise a brand manager does. Ask yourself who are you, and what makes you unique and stand out? If I try with myself I say “I help others to communicate effectively. Knowledge, passion, enthusiasm, experience and willingness and my features and I put them in my everyday job”.
Promote your brand
Once you clearly stated your brand is time to communicate it to others aptly. A kind of creating brand awareness. Here social media may have a major role, though they are not the only tool. Today the number of communication exchanges between people has grown exponentially compared to just few years ago. Think about the number of emails you send and receive daily, add phone calls, texts, instant messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn, websites, user reviews, Youtube, videconferences, video-calls, webinar and whatever else. Every time you get in touch with others is a chance to reinforce you brand (or dilute it if you get it wrong or simply don’t do it). This happens if it is a one to one communication or one to many, like a blog post. It applies if it is a live communication, like a meeting or a phone call, and also a deferred communication, like a recorded video. They are all occasions where the others shape or refine their ideas of you.
What to do?
Those platforms, like here where you are reading this, offer you a great potential that wasn’t there at the time Peters wrote that column. Some tools that used to be accessible only to people with big budget are today at your fingertips. But they are also at the fingertips of everyone else. So you have more opportunities and more competition too.
To close, take Tom advices to heart, everyone should do it. It doesn’t mean you should design a logo for yourself, come up with a payoff or that you have to start a blog. What I believe you should do is try to focus on the key concepts that are the foundation of a successful brand (be that a person, a product or a service), and try to apply a bit of them to you. Communicate accordingly and leverage the impact and potential of a society highly interconnected and social, where relations (and trust) are crucial and everything can easily be global.
Who you are, and what you are going to do in the future, will depend not only on you skills and competences, but more on how they are perceived, evaluated and understood by the others. This is a consequence of how you portray yourself and how you interact with them, are you doing it right? Your emails, calls and actions are raising the value of you brand or are you getting the opposite outcome?
Surely you may ask for help, it’s part of what I do as a job, help others, but you should never leave in the hands of others your brand! Be the CEO of YOU.