Dorie Clark: (REinventing you: Define your brand, reimagine your future)

“Branding Expert” and marketing strategy consultant Dorie Clark gave a presentation at Google on personal branding. Her book “Reinventing You” proves to be a remarkable addition to the literary titles on personal branding.

Insights from the presentation:

 1. Too many connections

Contrary to popular opinions that our current business world is a world of networking, Dorie Clark argues that ‘we live on the verge of too many connections’, much of which can be attributed to the number of friends we have in social media. Most of us would have close to over a hundred friends on Facebook. However, how many friends do we really meet up and keep in touch with? For those we don’t, aren’t they, well, acquaintances?

We do not have enough time to keep up with everybody. Reading social updates on Facebook? That doesn’t count. ”

2.  Branding is about how you are perceived by other people

There’s often a gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. To do proper branding, we do it subtly but more importantly, we have to close this gap before we can brand ourselves properly.

3. Branding is not about molding ourselves to what other people want us to be

Emulating a role that others want us to play is not personal branding. That’s acting. Personal branding is about authenticity, not phoniness.

Personal branding is about exhibiting our uniqueness and in so doing, differentiate ourselves from the rest of us. This is your ‘career insurance’, which kind of – in Dorie Clark’s words –  makes you indispensable to the company.

4. Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what other people say it is.

What others perceive about you is your brand. If we feel that we are not measuring up to what we want to be, then we have to work towards bettering ourselves in these aspects.

5. Do a “360 interview” for yourself

Let’s get to know what others feel about us. Do a 360 interview for ourselves. Get to know ourselves by asking out siblings, subordinates, bosses, colleagues etc. and we will get a better understanding of ourselves. Let’s make it easy for ourselves. Simple ask, from each of them, three words that best describe us. Look out for words that they say to identify a pattern, and look out for words that they don’t say as well, as that says a lot.

Keep an open mind when receiving feedback from everybody. Appreciate our strengths. Work on the areas to improve on. ”

6. People constructs a personality of you based on your acts

Sometimes, just based on a single act, people construct an entire spectrum of personality tailored just for you. Thus, avoid even a single rude act – cause that will define your personality for people who happen to witness your rude act once, and are ignorant of your numerous kind acts.

Yes, often, people do judge a book by its covers.

7. Have a “focus group”session for yourself

Have people you do not know in a room, and seat yourself in the chair without speaking – unless it’s to clarify. Have a facilitator ask these people about you. Directing the people’s attention to you, have the facilitator ask the people questions such as:

‘What do you think his/her profession is?’

‘What do you think her personality is?”

The insights gleaned from this session can be very enlightening.’

8. Constructing narrative in personal branding

People often do not know what to say to brand themselves, and that’s for most, if not, some of us.

A technique proposed by Dorie Clark is that we write down incidents and events that is significant and meaningful to us. Write a number of them and see if a pattern materialises. Through this pattern, we should be able to identify the values and meaning we make for our lives. And this is where the identity of our personal branding standings.

9. Be a connector between disparate groups

There are three types of relationships:

i. Bonding Capital: The degree of strength in bonding with people similar to  you, through commonalities that include culture, proximity , interest, life goals etc.

ii. Bridging Capital: The degree of strength in bonding between different groups of people, including groups that are different from you.

Having a strong personal branding is about being strong in the two areas above, especially the latter.

10. We can get away from doing personal branding through writing that we can’t get away with saying 

It is generally in the recesses of the human psyche that people are generally not receptive to others who express their expertise in person (unless, of course, if these people choose to sign up for a seminar to listen to them). However, people generally accepts others’ expertise when it is expressed in writing. So, blogging is personal branding. Sending emails to others on one’s expertise is personal branding. Having a conversation that relates to one’s expertise through one’s life experiences is personal branding. Relating an emotional story that resonates with one’s values is personal branding.

But overtly stating that one has strength in certain areas and outwardly exhibiting expertise on a subject area of interest in a face-to-face interactive session is usually not.

11. Get yourself a “Wingman”

Using a “Wingman” is a technique commonly deployed by Pick-up Artist (PUA), and the technique involves bringing another partner with them to social events. Within the context of a male PUA using this technique, it doesn’t matter which gender these “Wingmen” are. They might even bring more than one. However, if it is a lady, looks should preferably be above average and if it is a guy, his personality should at least be decent. During these events, these “Wingmen” are supposed to try their best to compliment the PUA in front of any potential ladies. Doing so increases the social value of the PUA in front of these ladies and makes him much more attractive to the opposite gender.

The same technique can be used when it comes to social branding. However, the criteria for the “Wingman” used are usually different. Here, the selection criteria could be in terms of the social value/status, gregariousness, financial standing and professional background of the “Wingman”. The more accomplished the “Wingman” is, the more the person who is being praised by the Wingman stands out in front of others. This technique is exceptionally useful during introductory sessions. And when your “Wingman” is speaking, he or she can insert positive qualities about us or give praises to things we did on previous occasions during their conversation with others.

The rationale behind getting others to say good things about ourselves rather than saying it ourselves is to align the act of personal branding to the fact that people usually accepts what other people say about us, than what we say about ourselves.

Think how useful positive testimonials are in job interviews and how they increase the chances of us getting the job. If we are able to provide positive testimonials by our colleagues, bosses etc. to our potential employers, that’s akin to giving our potential employer a “360 interview” (please see point 5 above) of ourselves to them! That is really powerful branding!

12. Share your ideas through blogs

Blogging is another platform for personal branding. Sure, it’s hard work. But that’s what makes it unique. Your thoughts are unique and distinct, and sharing your ideas online can make you a thought leader in the subject areas of your interest.  In fact, having a professional blog of your own can improve your job search chances many fold because not many people blog! And it goes back to the fact that blogging requires commitment and time that many people are unable to put in. So, if you are a writer, blog! It makes you stand out. Blog and share your positive thoughts and ideas, not only for your own  benefit, but for the betterment of mankind (this should be the ultimate goal).

If you are inspired to blog by this blog post, find an unexplored niche that is of interest to the masses and work on it. If you are really writing on something of your interest, Dorie Clark mentioned that there’s an allure about blogging on that subject matter that will keep you coming back to pen more articles of such nature.

Being an educationist blogger,  I totally concur!

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