Feelings, sometimes nothing more than feelings, define a brand, including a personal brand. What about yours?
If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, than emotion must be an integral factor in successful branding. Coke would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, so the warm fuzzy feeling of connection – not fizzy water and syrup must be the bigger attraction there. Nike with its whoosh of freedom and lack of emphasis on its shock absorbers and Apple with its tout about imagination not processing speed, must understand the same thing.
Tip #1: Emotion is a huge component of product branding, and it’s equally important in personal branding. Emotion is the brain’s pathfinder to how we remember you and what you do, and how we distinguish you from others.
Tip #2: Your emotional footprint is equal to or more important than your skills and experience. The feelings you leave behind or create on contact make up your emotional footprint. That frames our desire to do business with you, read your resume all the way through, select you to be on a committee or board and continue to pay you for who you are, not just what you do.
Tip #3: Your success all comes down to how you make us feel.
Here’s how I do it all day long and enjoy results from it. In every way possible – on-ground, on phone and online, I activate my personal brand when I’m interacting with others. My personal brand has three components: smart, inventive and encouraging. My tone has three qualities: encouraging, exciting, and reassuring. Along with valuable content, I sprinkle in humor to get people “in-fun.” To be relatable, I share personal stories that show my foibles as well as my success so people feel empowered to be themselves with me. Most important making a positive impression: I make sure people feel received and respected as well as well-served. A tip for how I do that? I remember the specific details of their stories and ask them how things are going when I have the chance to catch up with them. Truth is: I geniunely care about the people I know in business,the same way I feel about the people I know in my personal life.
The result? I have a constant stream of new projects, new job openings, new clients, and all sorts of opportunities that find their way to me. At LEAST once a day someone reaches out to me with something to do (and that means someone wants to spend money).
For example: this week I got two calls to be on camera for companies that want to promote their businesses (they are companies I produce branding and marketing learning programs for), an author has a new book that needs to be edited and promoted, a major broadcast channel wants help finding a shoot location in Los Angeles for a reality program I am producing for a client, a prospective client wants to shoot a short series of web commercials, a friend of a client has an administrative opening for an Academy Awards project, and two former coaching clients want sessions, one on sales and the other on job hunting.
All these projects need a little bit of me, and a lot of other people to contract with – most of whom I’m asked to recommend, vet and sometimes directly hire. When I pull up my mental rolodex, run down my list of incoming emails, glance at my LinkedIn connections, post on Facebook and in general think about the literally thousands of people I know: each one has a feeling associated with him or her.
Tip #4: We recommend people who are not just qualified, but are people who make other people feel good. Feel good is a very specific thing. It means you make people feel safe, secure, empowered, vital, calm, enthusiastic, passionate, eager, excited, optimistic, content, appreciated, respected, proud, hopeful, and positive.
I don’t mean YOU feel those feelings. I mean you PRODUCE those feelings in others. Disneyland isn’t happy – it makes YOU feel happy. Coke isn’t filled with harmony (I know, I was a marketing executive there – it’s real company with real people. Maybe that’s why it’s called the real thing). Point is Coke makes YOU feel harmony, vitality, refreshed and positive about life.
Tip #5: If you are serious about branding yourself: you’ve got to identify a specific set of positive emotions that frame how you deliver your message and your services. That is your emotional footprint.
You must have an uplifting effect on the people who can recommend you and hire you. It’s reflected in your tone of voice, the way you ask us about how we’re doing, the way you describe a project you’re working on and it’s there every time we “hear” you on social media or see your links, photos or video.
Need a slogan to keep this in mind? In Girl Scouts we were told during a camping trip: Leave the area better than you found it. If you do that in conversations, presentations, meetings, on phone and online, we want to recruit you for our troop.
It’s your emotional footprint that make us say, “Wow – I know exactly who to call. They are perfect for this opportunity!”
So think about your effect on us emotionally as well as logically. How do we feel when we think about your personal brand?