Be Your Brand

This is a follow-up on some discussions I had in 2009 with PhoebsAdrian Ciubotaru, and Sorin Rusi on personal branding.

There’s a lot of buzz concerning personal branding, but I’ve seen just a few people who can answer a simple question: What are the main 4 attributes that others perceive about you?

It’s a simple question. If you ask a brand manager for a company, he or she will know precisely which attributes, in which order, and how relevant they are in numbers. But unfortunately, some tend to believe that personal branding is different. That it’s OK just to follow feed-backs and be aware of how others perceive you, but that’s not what defines you. And that’s not what defines your brand.

You actually can’t escape from what you want to hide. You really can’t. For example, Adrian Ciubotaru is perceived as calm and patient. He doesn’t perceive himself that way. I’ve noticed that people generally have high standards for a particular value; they never think it’s enough.

Actually, an interesting thing was that a short while after this discussion, at the same meeting, Silviu Istrate offered me a brand recognition worthwhile mentioning. He has seen a presentation I made and loved the style of defending my idea against the public. He didn’t like the vision, but he wanted perseverance, which, according to my 2009 personal brand evaluation (based on the feed-back of more than 20 people who know me well), is my strongest positive attribute.

Now, I also considered, like Adrian Ciubotaru thought others perceiving him as a patient man, that this wasn’t my strongest point.

Also, no matter how much I would try to hide it, I could significantly improve (a euphemism, of course) my self-management starting with putting an order through my stuff to being more careful how I get dressed; it is something I can’t hide. No matter how much I would try, there’s such tremendous energy that has to be spent covering it that, in the end, others will perceive the same patterns anyway.

But personal branding is not about being yourself. Personal branding is adapting to context. Each of us has some attributes, some characteristics, which can’t be noticed if they’re not manifested. For example, I can be funny without being sarcastic. I can comment on politics if I get informed. I can play chess to train my mind for strategy. But you won’t see all these things because they are simply not relevant in the context that facilitates our meeting. I don’t make money out of being funny, commenting on politics, or playing chess; I make money out of what I’ve been doing for the last few years and loving. I do professional networking to get a purpose to my services, to get them into a market where they are needed and can provide for others. Therefore, there will always be aspects of my personality, my identity, what I am, what I like, and what I do; you will never see them unless you can observe them properly.

And this affects what happens when we try to change something in ourselves, grow, and develop. We find that the people we care about are the first people holding us back. Our friends are our greatest manipulators because they expect us to behave in a certain way they are familiar with. As soon as we access different behaviors, it becomes difficult for them to access new information about us. And considering each of us has a limited attention span, it’s very challenging to acknowledge the fact that there may be something else to discover. The truth is what separates us from our friends in the past are not only the values but the value levels of perception and development. The price to pay by changing is losing the connection with some people who cannot understand us anymore.

In social media networking, we communicate fast. Now. Here. Right now. What are you doing in 140 characters? Who are you, in 2 phrases. Your business card is your label. What you do is what puts you in a box. Although the contexts and options of communication have changed so fast in the last 100 years, our speed and depth of perception have not.

For each context, one must have a facet. In each social context, there are some aspects that you are aware of, even at a subconscious level, that are relevant to transmit, to promote. It doesn’t matter who you are in a particular environment; it matters which aspects of who you are are related to that environment. Therefore, you can only be as much as you are recognized in a market for public. It doesn’t matter what your illusion about yourself is. Others might get even what you try to hide when you don’t concentrate on what the others resonate with.

Let’s give some examples. When you talk to someone for 5 minutes, you can get a task orientation and talk about a project or a piece of information necessary to you; therefore, you will communicate exclusively from a professional standpoint. For example, describing an idea to a programmer and asking about the advantages and disadvantages of having it written in Python and hosted in the USA. Or, you can talk to somebody you would like to know to interact with, leaving the conversation partner’s mind open to observe different things about you. There’s a difference between “that guy with the X project” and “that guy who wanted to say “hi” “. The opportunity for personal brand involvement is higher in the second situation. Because it appeals to the intuition of detecting in a concise while how much of what you want to express is actually relevant to the other person. Frequently, out of people not actually listening to one another or even hearing each other, offline conversations become online conflicts – this is how miscommunication happens in the era of communication.

Therefore, when you cannot carefully select and detect, what is relevant to honestly communicate yourself in a particular environment, that represents poor personal branding skills.

You know you have good personal branding skills. When you accept yourself as you are, you are aware of how others perceive you very. Clearly, you acknowledge that you decide what to change, do it, and are perceived in THAT specific manner. That is authentic personal branding. And then, you put yourself in each context as much and select as necessary to resonate with the context.

In “American Gangster”, Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, tells his little brother that the most obvious guy in the club is the one who gets in trouble first. Those who will know to resonate with you will do that. Otherwise, you’re out of context, out of context, out of focus, and out of business.

Be smart.

Be yourself.

Be your brand.

In every way, you can, by being yourself.

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2009-present

One thought on “Be Your Brand

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