The Portable Personal Brand

July 10, 2009 § 6 Comments

Is your personal brand portable? Is your message easy for others to carry and spread?

Sometimes we get too caught up in our own message – we labor over the words, trying to get the nuance just so; making sure we get the essential essence of our value proposition; delving into details; artistically articulating skills, services and strengths… only to find out that everybody else refers to you as “the guy with the funny hat”, or “you know, that lady who sells real estate”, or “the dude with the stale coffee breath”.  It happens.  But there is a lesson to be learned here: if you show up often enough people will remember you, but are they remembering you for what you want or for what they find convenient?

What if you could combine the two?

The portable personal brand is about getting known in that straightforward, easy to identify, easy to remember way, but also in a way that points people toward your value.  You can’t do this with  a complex message: “Oh you know Dave, he’s the guy that went to art school after getting a math degree, and went on to startup companies and then built a career in marketing, blah blah blah…” It is too much. I can’t remember it all and I lived it, how can I expect someone else to carry all that info?  And even if they could what would they do with it all?   But if I give myself a label, “the brand therapist”, and tell people one thing I can do, “help people brand themselves to get more business” then maybe, just maybe someone might remember that.  Maybe then, when someone meets a person with a murky message who is not getting results, they  will say “Oh you should talk to Dave, the brand therapist, he can help you”.

Simplicity is portability, but there is a trade-off:  there is more I can offer, but I have to leave it out otherwise it is distracting and cumbersome. There is certainly more you can offer than will fit in a sentence or two, but it is unreasonable to expect people to remember it all.  And if it isn’t simple it won’t function as a trigger.  When you network you will meet great people who are willing to help you, don’t you owe it to them to make that job easier?  Equip them to help you with a simple way to understand your value. Build a portable personal brand that makes it a reflex to relay people to you who need your help.

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