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How to Brand a Brand-New You

Bob Goldman on

What's the difference between you and tube of toothpaste?

The toothpaste has branding consultants who spend millions every year to educate the public on its qualities. You don't. This is why everybody knows what the toothpaste can do, while you remain an unknown entity, undervalued by many and misunderstood by most.

It's all about branding, baby. Branding with a capitol "B."

The Harvard Business Review knows all about branding. That's why they don't call themselves Jim's Business Review. That's also why they publish articles such as the latest from authors Dorie Clark and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, "Your Personal Brand Needs a Refresh. Here's Where to Start."

"Brands help people make choices, and that's whether we're talking about products, objects, or humans," write the authors. "When it comes to personal brands, these choices may involve high-stakes professional decisions, such as whether to hire you, promote you, engage you for coaching or services, and so on."

You may not like the idea that achieving your career dreams is dependent on the same cheesy branding dynamic that resulted in the creation of Mr. Peanut, Morris the Cat and the GEICO Gecko, but that's how you succeed -- in the supermarket and in the executive suite.

What can you do to burnish your personal brand? Here are the four recommended starting points for developing a brand-new brand for a brand-new you.

No. 1: Do the vision thing.

Do your co-workers see you as a "lazy slug" who "accomplishes little?" The same attributes, while undoubtedly true, can be rebranded so you are perceived as a "deep thinker" who can be "highly trusted" to carefully study any action before putting the company at risk. Does your manager see you as "unhinged" and "just wacky"? You want them to see you as an "out-of-the-box thinker," always looking for the edgy new ideas the company needs to stay competitive.

If you work for a company that plays the new-age version of the name game, in which the CEO becomes the CHO ("Chief Happiness Officer"), a new title could embellish your brand.

Don't wait to be promoted. Change your email signature from "Administrative Assistant" to "Visionary Game Changer" or from "Marketing Trainee" to "Chief Brand Evangelist."

If you work in HR, take the title "Ruler of the Realm," assuming you don't use it already. No. 2: Watch the gap.

Market research is essential when selling toothpaste. It's no less important when selling yourself.

You could buttonhole co-workers and managers, but since you scare most people, you're not likely to get a useful response. If your company uses Slack, you can discover the nasty slurs your closest work friends are saying behind your back, but you will have to cozy up to the site administrator. (A fruit basket is extremely motivating, as are slashed tires.)

 

The HBR article also suggests you consult generative AI. Search for your name in ChatGPT or Perplexity, but remember that even the most advanced AI systems can "hallucinate."

If the response comes back that people think you are an "early-stage robot who time traveled from 10th century England in an attempt to escape the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great," it is obviously a hallucination. Unless it isn't.

No. 3: Create a tactical plan.

If you want mad comms skills to be part of your brand, always be the first to raise your hand and open your yap. If you don't want the spotlight, keep hiding under your desk, like the scared mouse you are.

Don't be afraid to present yourself as more than one thing. Just as toothpaste can also be used as a shampoo or a salad dressing, there's no reason your brand can't position you as a strategist, an implementer, a leader, a visionary and the best hope for the company's survival.

Well, there is one reason -- that's your boss's brand.

No. 4: Embrace strategic patience.

Changing a brand does not happen overnight. While you may wake up one morning a totally different person, it will take many mornings and maybe many moons before your co-workers and managers recognize and embrace the brand-new you.

That doesn't mean you should leave your brand where it is today -- in an end-aisle display in the discontinued products aisle at 90% off. This is not where you want to be when job cuts begin or new job opportunities end. So, like we say in the toothpaste biz -- act now!

Move forward with your rebranding and never look back.

Cnut the Great could be coming to get you.

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Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


 

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