What can a legendary rocker and serial entrepreneur do to make the world a better place? This question was asked by Peter Gabriel and Richard Branson 2001, at the beginning of the new millennium. His answer: pick up the phone. On the other side of the line, Nelson Mandela himself answered, neither more nor less.
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Together they created The oldest Initiative, a group of very influential and experienced people who coordinate peace and development efforts around the world. Since 2007 Mandela herself, Koffi Annan, Jimmi Carter, Ban-Ki Moon and many other recognized personalities have been among its members. It's a great idea – and it started with a phone call.
Why can a rocker and an entrepreneur call Mandela? AND…. Why are you taking the call? It's not just about contacts; but also and above all: Reputation and your personal brand.
Engrave this in gold letters. There is no stronger card than your personal brand. Your brand is the key that opens many doors that would otherwise be closed and it is the visible projection of your own reputation and prestige.
Along with personal brand gurus like Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins and Barack Obama, founder of Virgin Galactic (and over 100 other companies) Sir Richard Branson has managed to get a clear picture of him in his long career. the values he represents: not just a great businessman and billionaire, but a rebellious, smiling entrepreneur with a life project.
How can you build and grow your own personal brand? The recipe is simple, but not always easy: you have to know who you are, what you want … and know how to live and convey it.
There are many tips on how to build and strengthen your personal brand. Your clothes, your image, the way you speak and even say hello. All of this is fine. But if you want to take the step to the next level, these five aspects of a transcendent personal brand should be considered.
1. THE PERSONAL BRAND IS NOT A HAT
In 2019, TV megastar Ellen DeGeneres suffered a spectacular fall. After cultivating a friendly image for years and wearing the face of his famous slogan “ be nice to each other" , a completely different reality came to light: that of an aggressive, manipulative and cruel person; that he treated his co-workers badly and used his friends to get a rating point.
Ellen had a great personal brand … until it turned out to be a lie. And then … the collapse. Personal branding is not designed on a desk or in a beauty salon; not even in a strategic one Think tank. Personal branding is not a product that you put on and take off, like a jacket or hat, to appear in public media or at events: Your personal brand is the strategic visualization of who you really are.
How good makeup does not hide and transform a personal brand: it is not a costume but on the contrary, it highlights your best qualities: what makes you who you are. It is the visible vehicle of your reputation. And the reputation, which is not based on reality, explodes sooner or later: gold falls and bronze appears.
The first two questions about creating your personal brand are not "What color is me?" or "How can I sell more?", but something much deeper: "Who am I?" and "What do I want to achieve in the world?"
2. THE PERSONAL BRAND IS NOT A MARKETING TRICK
Campaign politicians have little time to create an impeccable, loving, generous and visionary image: campaigns, spots and retouched photos are the rule when the race is short-term and you have to win at all costs. Once the election is won it doesn't matter and the cracks appear very soon. The economic and social costs are very high.
However, your life is not a three month campaign but an ongoing endeavor; a project that will grow over many, many years. Politicians can (hardly) maintain an image for a few months, but never for many years. His true character and intentions quickly come to the fore while effectively maintaining two lives: a private and a public, which are not at all alike.
One of the things that distinguishes a real leader from a simple politician or salesman is his personal brand , which includes his own vision, values and true personality. Richard Branson also parachutes out of a building to promote his business (it's part of his “The Rebel Entrepreneur” brand); but at the same time he spends time and millions addressing real social problems (this is another part of his brand: "the dedicated leader").
3. THE PERSONAL BRAND IS NOT A MASK OR A PET
Personal branding is not a mask that we wear for sale . It depends and never can depend on the business you are in right now because it feels wrong. They don't represent your company; rather … your company represents you; They have to be an extension of your personal mission and vision and cannot be separated from your core, soul, passions and talents.
A company mascot is that and nothing else, and there are excellent ones, like Julio Regalado or the botargas from Doctor Simi.
You might think that Richard Branson will "do whatever it takes" to promote a brand, but he doesn't: Branson does what Branson does and nothing else. Being an adrenaline lover is not a designed product, it is a reality. And reality is a phenomenal starting point for building great projects and projecting great ideas.
So when building yours personal brand, Do not try to copy others or do or do things that seem "attractive" to you, like uploading photos while exercising or mountain climbing, if they are not really who you are. You are much more likely to find a niche and market by projecting who you are in a creative and professional way … than by emulation (almost always with bad results) the Influencer or "entrepreneur" in fashion.
4. THE PERSONAL BRAND IS NOT A HANDLING SYSTEM
Personal branding opens doors. Keeping them open … is different. People who use their personal brand to sell – and who make an effort – find themselves very quickly without a reputation, without customers and without friends.
The difference between communication and manipulation … is the relationship. People who have a real relationship – with their customers, their partners, their employees, their family – use their reputation capital to help and create wealth for everyone: they don't use people, they help them. They don't just sell, they invite. They not only inform, they inspire. You do not have a mediocre short-term vision, but a transcendent distance vision.
That's why you are The personal brand must correspond to your actual habits and values. You can't pretend to be "healthy" and have three boxes of chocolate behind the scenes. The deception will take a few days, but not too long. You cannot have a simple, sincere, humble, or generous image if you are conceited, liar, and selfish. Not only is it bad, it shows. As Shakira would say … hips don't lie.
Would you like to create a personal brand? Focus on real values and habits that move, drive, inspire you; and in your vision, in what you want to leave behind in the world.
5. NO PICTURE DESIGN
Like we said Self-marketing is not an aesthetic change; but the projection of a real value. You may change company, business, industry, city or hairstyle … but your personal brand never changes. Your personal brand remains.
It is precisely this personal branding concept that you must embrace and that will keep you afloat in good times and bad; It will help you find unique business opportunities and gradually turn you into a power player in your own niche. Your personal brand is the goal that you choose yourself.
There are two ways to destroy your personal brand. The first is to make up one that is not real: as you know, the truth will shine very soon. The second is to change personal brand, style, and values for immediate profit. It's true that in a changing world we need to be flexible and diverse, but that doesn't mean we stop being who we are. A flexible racket wins championships. A broken club is thrown away.
6. CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN LESS THAN 140 CHARACTERS?
You can? If Richard Branson is a " Rebel entrepreneur, risky businessman, family man, dedicated leader, adrenaline lover and archenemy "… what are you?
Write – you can now – your own personal brand as if writing a company's vision or mission. You can say: "Emilio is a visionary and generous building contractor." You could also say: "Fernando is a loving father, a loyal husband and a great golfer …".
Write down five or six things who you are and love to be. Write them to convey how you want to be perceived by your customers, the ecosystem, and those you know.
Do not write "Arturo is a director of this or that company"; instead he writes "Arturo is a creative and risky businessman who likes football". Remember: your companies can change, but your brand won't change.
Do you already have your brand description, your 140 characters? Well, go to the hairdresser, buy your clothes, manage your networks, but never let your words or actions – private and public – say anything else. It's called branding and it's the stepping stone that will take you to the next level. Personal branding is not (just) a sales tool. It's a lever that can move the world.