The One Thing You Should Take Personal: Your Brand

Last week, I had the honor of facilitating a workshop to national program directors at The National Urban League on a subject that I am absolutely obsessed with - branding. As I'm sure you know, the new school understanading of branding has a few more facets that we all have to consider - personal and professional branding are now ONE IN THE SAME. Remember the day when we were able to separate our personal and professional worlds?! I do! Nonetheless, the game has changed. 

As I approached the PH level on Wall Street, I was a bit anxious - I mean, what an honor to speak at a national organization that I grew up knowing, adoring and now in the space of serving. It was a full circle moment to say the least! Not only would I share my knowledge of personal and professional branding, but I would introduce a concept that has greatly benefited me as a brand - a holistic approach to creating an irresistible, relevant and classic symbol of excellence. 

Here's what you need to know: the old school form of branding was a rather simple concept - if you master visual, verbal and written communication, you were considered to be golden. Now, the new school form of branding is asking for all-of-the-above and the following to be successful: 

  1. Clearly define your mission statement. Who are you in 140 characters or less? What is your elevator pitch of how you define both your personal persona and professional call? Your mission statement should reflect your value inwardly and allow it to flow outwardly. 
  2. We need to understand your vision - and more importantly how your mission branding statement is in full alignment to what your brand stands for, both present and future aspirations. Take us on a journey of what you envision for yourself. 
  3. Be Authentic. Remember the days of "fake it until you make it?" Most times, that understanding does not work in today's society. Gary Zukav, author of, Seat Of The Soul writes, "Authentic power is when you use your personality to serve the energy of your soul." So, let's turn that old adage of "fake it until..." on its head. What if there was no need to fake anything about your being and we replaced that idea with, "show us who you are" at your core? The more you allow your unique personality to shine in full support of your work, the more successful you are destined to become. 
  4. Personal and professional branding comes with a duty of being, responsible. You are responsible for what you put out in the world. The idea of "giving credit where credit is due" has never been more true - for better or for worse, one might add. Own what 'of yourself' you share with us. 
  5. You have a platform. No matter who you are, your socioeconomic status, degree or non-degree or zip code, there is a space and a corner of the world that you occupy. And, when we occupy any area of space on this planet, it is up to us to utlize our platform in bettering the world that we live. 
  6. You are the product. I cannot say this enough! We have come to see you, hear your thought process, your beliefs, your contributions and area of influence. We want to see how you authentically command the spaces that you are in. 

The new school of branding is not asking to infiltrate your private and precious moments. Your "business" is not what great and successful branding is asking you to lead with. Integrity, quality, authenticity and a responsibility to valuing (in action) something higher than yourself is where next level branding is asking you to go. Frankly, it might not be that bad - to challenge ourselves to be better, more compassionate and genuine people who are ready to share their platforms in support of a better world. 

Klay WilliamsComment