At the Personal Branding Bootcamp I ran at UCLA this last weekend, we focused more on crafting an authentic and compelling brand promise than we did on the tactics of social media and other ways you relentlessly go about letting the world know who you are.
Having given the inaugural camp six months ago, it occurred to me that we keep on you to blog, post, update your FB status, tweet, retweet and direct message, write a book, write an ebook, get subscribers, produce a slideshare presentation, get a blogtalkradio show going, get your video channel on YouTube and your photos on Flckr, take a head shot, and create a profile on 400 social media sites, plus make 4 million connections by the third degree of separation on LinkedIn. But we rarely talk about formulating your brand.
We presuppose you have a personal brand like we presume you have a belly button.
What is your brand?
But that’s simply not the case for the great majority of people who are being thrust into social media. I know there’s a school of thought that says to throw the baby in the pool and it will learn to swim by necessity, but we know that’s not true. Why are we immersing you in dangerous territory that writes your reputation with indelible ink on servers around the world that forever hold your worst moments?
We should be helping you reveal who you are: values wise, skills wise and otherwise. We should help you identify your tribes and their unmet needs, and see your competition.
Instead you’re encouraged – actually threatened – that if you don’t get on tumblr.com now (or any one of the 4,000 new networking sites that will rear their content sucking monster heads soon), you’ll never be Chris Brogan who leapt onto Twitter really early on and now has 156,433 followers! Of course, he is forced to see the tweets of the 139,811 people he follows. And, he’s had to come up with 75,125 tweets.
I don’t know if I’ve had 75,000 thoughts since Twitter debuted! And, I’m getting married soon, so how would I come up with enough appetizers for 140,000 people, even if I did the tacky thing of making it a cash bar? If you do a wedding tweet-up, undoubtedly people will expect refreshments!
All by way of saying: stop being afraid that all the good personal brands are taken, you’ll never have a dot com and be stuck with a dot biz, or no one will ever hire you if you don’t have a video resume streaming from a drupal site you designed and manage yourself.
Just slow down and start with the first big question you must answer before you can create your brand. This question stumped most of my bootcampers, so you don’t have hit the buzzer and shout out an answer. It may take time.
When I say to you:
“I have the perfect opportunity for you!”
What is it?
Who has it?
Who competes for it?
What makes you the ideal thought-leader and lucky person who gets to do exactly what you want because it suits you so perfectly?
What additional steps, skills and qualities do you need to embody so you are ready?
Or in a nutshell: You are getting a lifetime achievement award. What it’s for? That’s your personal brand.