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Excerpt from the Book
“I always worry about people who say, ‘I’m going to do this for ten years [but] I really don’t like it very well. And then I’ll do this…’ That’s a little like saving up sex for your old age.”
Statistics indicate that about 75% of today’s employed people are unhappy with their jobs. Can you imagine this? We spend an average of one-third of our lives at work, and 75% of us are unhappy while we’re there. Since we sleep another one-third of our lives, that means that a large chunk of our waking lives are spent miserable! What kind of a life is that?
If you’re one of those people who aren’t as satisfied at work as you’d like to be, defining your personal brand can help you start to enjoy your job again. Once you define and clarify your role at work and what you want to accomplish – which is what personal branding is all about – you can embrace work with new meaning. Knowing who YOU™ are can help you eliminate that groan when the alarm goes off in the morning. Yes, you can be happy, fulfilled, and motivated at work.
When you look at your work as an opportunity to build a personal brand, you begin to make every minute of your career count. It brings new energy and purpose to your job. When people ask you what you do, you’ll be able to answer the question with enthusiasm.
Author and motivational speaker Nido Qubein once said, “Life doesn’t give you what you want; it gives you what you deserve.” So, what you focus on is what you will get, right? In other words, if you want a better career and more satisfied work life, it’s up to you. If you don’t do something about it, nothing will happen. Your success at work is in your control, and a large part of the foundation of that control is learning how to master your personal brand.
Defining your personal brand is only the first step in the process, however. It would make no sense to define your brand and leave it in a desk drawer while you continue on the same as always. No, you need a roadmap to help you communicate your brand to others so that it serves you well. You need to learn exactly how you can become known for your personal brand. This is how you achieve your goals. This is how you change your work life for the better. This is how you take the steering wheel of your career and drive it to where you want it to be.
Did You Know You Already Have a Personal Brand?
When I speak to individuals or corporate groups about the topic of personal branding, occasionally someone will say, “Oh, that sounds interesting, but no thanks. I’m actually not into self-promotion. I don’t have – or even want – a personal brand.” It’s then that I break the news to them: Everyone already has a personal brand.
Yes, it’s true. You don’t have to sit down and give your personal brand any thought to have one. Just by virtue of being you in the workplace, you have a personal brand. The question is whether you have the personal brand you want. Are you living up to the potential that YOU™ could achieve if you created your personal brand consciously rather than leaving it to chance?
The truth is that if you don’t take control of your personal brand and make a conscious decision about how you want to be known, you may be leaving an impression that undermines your success.
Many years ago, a very famous man discovered the hard way that his personal brand wasn’t what he wanted at all. Alfred Nobel was a very successful and wealthy Swedish industrialist in the late 1800’s. He was single-handedly credited with inventing two things: dynamite and the detonator, the apparatus that actually causes dynamite to ignite from a distance. He had made millions with these inventions, and he was living a wonderful millionaire’s life.
His brother, Ludwig Nobel, who was also a well-known wealthy businessman, died in 1888. The obituary that showed up the next day in the newspaper, however, was switched, and it was Alfred’s obituary that appeared, not Ludwig’s. So, Alfred Nobel had the rare opportunity of opening up the morning paper and reading his own life story. Can you imagine how powerful that would be?
But Alfred must have cringed when he read the headline of his obituary. It labeled Alfred “The Merchant of Death” because of his work with dynamite and detonators. He realized in that single moment that everything he had done would forever associate his personal brand with death – unless he took control and did something about it.
So, he decided to change his personal brand. He made a plan to develop the Nobel Prizes for three things he really cared about – peace, literature, and science. And, when he died in 1895, Alfred Nobel left his millions to the establishment of those prizes. He didn’t want his name, “Nobel,” to stand for destruction and death. Look what the name Nobel stands for today – the highest possible awards in literature, science, and peace.
You have no doubt heard of the Nobel Prizes, right? But you probably didn’t know the other work that Nobel had done in his life. That’s because Alfred Nobel was successful in changing his personal brand so that his name could stand for what he wanted it to stand for. As author Carl Bard said, “Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.”
My Personal Branding System
So, here’s the reality: You already have a personal brand. You may just not know how to manage it yet. This book, How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo, is a do-it-yourself, no-nonsense guide to achieving success through personal branding. It’s simple, easy to read, and it works. As you read these pages, I hope that you will experience that “ah-ha!” moment that comes from the power of thinking of yourself as a unique personal brand. I hope you’ll see how you can use personal branding to make real tangible changes in your career that can lead to increased income, job satisfaction, and career progress.
I have designed How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo to take the guesswork out of uncovering your personal brand and making it work for you. It’s all about practical application. Through an innovative, proven step-by-step process which utilizes exercises and worksheets, you will define:
- Your current personal brand – the one you already have at work
(think Nobel and dynamite.)
- Your desired personal brand – the one you need to develop in order
to achieve your goals (think Nobel and his prizes.)
By comparing both your current and your desired personal brands, you will be able to see exactly what adjustments you need to make, and the exercises will help you bridge the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be.
Most importantly, your desired personal brand won’t just remain a nice idea in your head. You will learn specific ways to communicate it to others and apply it to your job. We will work together to:
- Define your existing and future personal brands using a Personal Brand Positioning Statement format modeled off the six core elements used in corporate branding.
- Communicate your desired personal brand through a Personal Brand Marketing Plan that will help you more effectively master the five activities you do every day that most impact your personal brand.
- Avoid damaging your desired personal brand by learning from the mistakes of others. This is one of the most unique and fun parts of the system – our Personal Brand Busters™. These will help you bypass the most common pitfalls in establishing your personal brand. In other words, you’ll know what to watch out for before you even get there!
We’ll use the graphic labeled “The Proven Pathway to Branding YOU™” on page 20 like a map to explain each step of our personal branding system. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all make sense to you yet. It will – I promise!
You will also gain tangible tools to help you check the development of your desired personal brand three months, six months, and further down the road. You will discover ways to evaluate your progress and keep your personal brand on track and evolving as your career progresses.
Input Equals Output
How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo is an interactive, action-oriented experience, but your personal brand won’t be handed to you on a silver platter. I can guarantee you one thing for sure: What you put into defining and communicating your personal brand is exactly what you will get out of it. The more time and energy you devote to your personal brand, the faster and better your results will be.
So, I encourage you to really take the time to think about the exercises and worksheets in this book. I urge you not to rush through reading the book, thinking that you’ll go back to the exercises at a later date. Instead, spend as much time as you need to work through each section thoroughly before moving on to the next one. In this way, you’ll truly be ready to take control of your personal brand by the time you turn that last page.
Get ready to feel empowered as you take charge of your personal brand and become the Brand Manager of YOU™. Let’s discover how to make YOU™ work for you!