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Who Are You? 5 Reasons You Need A Personal Brand

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Who Are You? 5 Reasons You Need A Personal Brand

This morning, my friend Debbie Mitchell tweeted a piece that was in The Huffington Post, written by a friend of hers, called “Brands “R” Us; Identity Crisis in the Age of Technology. Nancy Colier is a psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker with a book coming out in October.

She writes in this post about recent meetings with publicists and friends, many of whom are asking her about her “brand” and social media activity. Questions like does she have a blog, does she respond when people leave comments, is she on Twitter, Facebook and if so, how active is she?

All of these lead Ms. Colier to write , in part:

I blog on a variety of topics: spirituality, technology, psychology, parenting, a potpourri of material. The majority of the comments that I receive (not on the blog page, but in life) are about how I can become better known through my blog — use my writing to become more famous. Friends and colleagues ask if I am following enough people on Twitter (so that they will follow me back), whether I am responding to the people who comment on my blog (generating my fan base), and if I am posting helpful quotes on Facebook to promote my message. Mostly, people want to know how many followers I have. Every now and again someone mentions the material itself, but it is by far the exception. The dialogue is about using what I have to say in order to say something about me. Am I missing something… aren’t they the same thing?

 

Whether Ms. Colier believes it, we are all “brands”, some better defined than others. Your personal brand can be thought of as your outlook on life and while I’m no Life Lessons subject Ted Rubin, I have had a bit of experience in this realm. So here are Good Enough Mother’s 5 reasons everyone needs a personal brand.

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YOU NEED TO TELL PEOPLE
WHO YOU ARE

I want to know when I go into the grocery store and plop down  money for this:

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when I open it, I am not going to find this..

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There’s no chance I am going to confuse Wendy Williams for Oprah and even though each is comprised of a bunch of letters, I will immediately know the difference between HGTV and MSNBC. The point is each of these entities is clearly identified in the mind of the consumer. Ms. Colier laments the look at me society. You’re darn right we’re looking at you. And you know what else? We’re going to kick some tires before we decide to buy.

Read more:  Monday Morning Motivation: How To Build A Brand In 5 Easy Steps

YOU NEED TO TELL PEOPLE
WHAT YOU BELIEVE

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Ms. Colier has a  website and that’s important. Why? Because people are busy. They have full lives and you need to tell them why they should spend a little time with you. If Ms. Colier’s ultimate goal is to get me to open my wallet and spend 15 (or more) bucks on one of her books, I need to know a bit about what I’m going to get. Why not excerpt a chapter or two (or at least part of a chapter) on her website? Give me the literary version of an afternoon at Sam’s club. I want to taste before I commit.

Read More:  Monday Morning Motivation: The Best Is Yet To Come!

YOU NEED TO TELL PEOPLE
WHAT YOU CAN DO

Rene On The Doctors

Whether you’re trying to sell books or yourself to a prospective employer, it needs to be clear to them whether you are the right person for the job. I think of a blog, not as a necessary evil, rather a living, breathing business card. I have booked more speaking engagements, TV appearances, have a book in the works, write a syndicated column, go out on auditions, test product, travel, and have sold more books with my website than I ever did using the esteemed talent agency I did for 15 years. On my site, there are podcasts, videos, writings, rantings, photos and ways to reach me. In short, if someone wanted to know more about Rene Syler, good ol’ Google will bring them to my doorstep. I’ll take it from there.

Read more:  Monday Morning Motivation: If You Build It (WELL), They Will Come

 

YOU NEED TO TAKE CHARGE

Creative Commons/EU Social Media Dude

Creative Commons/EU Social Media Dude

According to her bio, Ms. Colier’s last book was published in 2001. A lot has changed in that time; there has been a veritable sea change in how media is consumed and disseminated. The consumer is in the driver’s seat, much to the chagrin of the people who push content using old media. I hear a lot of people asking publicists to get them on The Today Show, but is three minutes at 8:25 (with moms listening with one ear as they rush to get kids out of the house) going to get you the same return as say a social media campaign? What if it goes viral, in which the people you interact with turn into evangelists? Will a three minute segment give as much as a campaign that will live in perpetuity? I don’t think so.

Interaction is a critical part of branding and social media (um, SOCIAL, hello!). It’s not about getting more popular as Ms. Colier contends publicists have told her. No, you use Twitter and comment on your blog to better serve your audience, community, tribe or whatever you want to call those who are like-minded. You need to know if you’re writing and talking about the things that will make a difference in the lives of those you are trying to reach, assuming that’s what you want to do. But if you don’t know what they’re saying, how they’re living, what issues are germane to their lives, how can you do that? Isn’t that essentially a one-sided conversation with you shooting in the dark? Yes. Yes it is.

Read more:  PLAY NICE! And 9 More Life Lessons From Disney

YOU NEED TO TELL PEOPLE
WHAT THEY’LL FIND WHEN THEY GET THERE

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When people come to goodenoughmother.com they know they’re going to get a couple of things. They know they’re going to laugh, maybe think a little, perhaps get a little bit angry but in the end, they’ll be engaged. They depend on me to give a unique perspective on the day’s events and life in general, all through the lens of Good Enough Mother. Will everyone like/agree with me? Nope, but I daresay they’ll know me after spending some time here.

One final note. Good Enough Mother was published by a division of Simon and Schuster, a huge publishing house (you can get a signed copy here if you’d like. Always selling…). For the first month, I was at the top of their priority list, chatting on the phone everyday, making arrangements for media appearances and book readings. It was a heady feeling. But after 30 days or so, they had other books to push, other authors to pay attention to. I’m not trying to rain on Ms. Colier’s parade; I’m just saying this is the way it goes (unless of course, you’re a Dan Brown or Jeffrey Deaver). This is yet one more reason you need to build your own buzz, your own community, your own following, which will be there long after the next book pushes yours out of the way.

Read more:  Monday Morning Motivation: 5 Signs It’s Time For A (Career) Change

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Brand is not a dirty word but if it sounds too commercial for you, change it; use the word philosophy. The point is everyone stands for something. Why would you not want to share that?

What about you? Do you have a website or blog? What is your personal brand and do you think it’s important to have one?

[editor’s note: We originally ran this piece on April 17, 2012 – but we thought you might need a refresher!]

More from GEM:

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network: 5 Ways To Fix What Went Wrong

My Target Moment: How I Left TV News Behind

The Story Of Us: Happy Anniversary Buff

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32 Comments

  1. Ted Rubin

    April 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Great post Rene and so absolutely relevant today. We are all a brand… what you do everyday, how you act, what you say, how you say it… defines you. And because the majority of us publish, whether it be via a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or simply reviews in various sites… we are all broadcasting to the world who we are and what we stand for, in on way or another. So be aware, pay attention, and realize that people are watching and deciding how they feel about you. So like you say Rene, if you do not like “personal brand,” then I think “philosophy” is a wonderful alternative and one I use along with brand… for an individual or a company.

    My personal philosophy is… “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” So let;s all dance 🙂

  2. Rene Syler

    April 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    @Ted Love it! You are the master!!

  3. yang

    April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    That is some really good, helpful info. News we can use. My personal philosophy is… “Don’t pee on my foot and tell you left the sprinklers on.

  4. Justine

    April 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Great article. So timely. Thank you for sharing.

    @Tim I like your philosophy. I may have to borrow it is between. 😉

  5. Deon Smith

    April 20, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I LOVED this! Its just what “I” needed to hear!

  6. Julia

    April 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Brilliant article, and so TRUE! I just started a new blog a few weeks ago. Much to think about here. Thanks, Rene!

  7. Harvey

    April 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for the article on why we need to brand ourselves and create a vehicle to navigate and communicate with the masses.
    Thinking outside the box has been expanded by the Social Media

  8. Renee Jones-Lee

    May 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Very well said. Thank you. I needed that. Continued success in all that you do.

  9. Mike McGinley

    May 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Everything we do contributes to our personal brands. Keep your reputation clean, try to be positive, be real, be true, etc. Great post … having a defined personal brand is essential for many of us these days, especially with how corporate America is constantly changing and companies are constantly realigning. Having your own brand can give you confidence when nothing else does. It’s something that can’t be taken away.

  10. Women Are Gamechangers

    May 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I do believe some people are more concerned with numbers than actually establishing a brand that can sell and speak for itself. And you are so right about telling people who we are. Not what we do but who we are. Very insightful.

  11. China Panion

    June 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Very great read! New media 2 pts!

  12. Vickie

    August 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Beautiful article Rene and so true. I’m happy to follow someone like you on Twitter. Branding is indeed everything.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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