Personal branding should be unique. Personal branding should be remarkable. Personal branding should be… personal.
Instead, it seems the goal of most building an online personal brand is working toward neutral, non-confrontational–boring, even. We scrub our Facebook pages, sanitize and corporatize our Linkedin summaries, and make our resumes read like clones of everyone else’s resume.
If we were responsible for marketing pizza, wouldn’t we find something amazing to say about the pizza? Of course! We would find unique value propositions around myriad factors involved in the buying decision: overall quality, the ingredients and/or the experience that goes into every slice. We could market the size, shape, thickness, taste or price. Whatever we came up with… we would find a distinctive way to make the consumer buy what we’re selling.
Yet our personal brands seemingly go out of their way NOT to sell.
While in New York recently I attended a networking event where almost every male in the room wore black; or, at least “dark”: dark pants, shirts, ties, jackets, shoes… everything dark. It was clear no one was willing to stand out and be different. Their brands–at least at this networking event–screamed “I’m just like everyone else here…” Maybe it was ego, or maybe fashion trends just wouldn’t allow anything different. Maybe it was the need to feel “safe” among peers. Regardless, their personal brands were numbingly analogous.
Then there was this one guy… Joey Price.
Joey (@jumpstartHR) showed up in green pants, a bright yellow shirt, a green, white and yellow sweater vest and a bow tie that matched exactly. His smile was the second thing about him I noticed, followed by his firm handshake as he introduced himself warmly. He worked the room full of start-up CEOs, entrepreneurs, authors, bloggers and C-level executives with class and confidence.
Joey Price demonstrated a charismatic, unique, remarkable brand that night; just as he does–I and many others have now learned–every time he posts on LinkedIn, joins a Twitter chat or enters a room. Most important: Joey is an example of what personal branding should be: personal.
Take a look at your personal branding efforts:
- Are you too comfortable being “safe”?
- What is your distinct value proposition?
- Online or off… what makes you memorable?
Find sincere answers to these questions… and then choose to be uniquely, remarkably… personal.
Mark Babbitt, the CEO and Founder of YouTern, is a serial entrepreneur and mentor and a passionate supporter of Gen Y talent. Mark contributes to 12Most.com, Glassdoor and Business Insider. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter:@YouTernMark.