I sat down with Lida to explore the world of personal branding and wanted to share the highlights from our intensely interesting conversation. Lida is a published author on the subject of personal branding and continues to teach, consult and speak around the country.
RA- How did you get your start in personal branding?
LC- After years in corporate and at agencies, I started my own consulting firm in 2008 and back then most of my work was helping to align perception of senior management around the company strategy.
“Personal branding” wasn’t a household phrase back then, but the executives I attracted knew they needed help refining or expanding their reputation to get better results in the marketplace. Then, my work grew in an interesting way in 2009. I was at a Broncos game during the week of Veterans Day, and during the halftime show, I heard a soldier speaking about the difficulty of getting back into civilian life. It was so exciting and inspirational for me because I knew I could help him! I knew that the personal branding resources and strategies I was using with business leaders could be applied to veterans transitioning to a career outside of their culture and knowledge.
For the past six years, I’ve worked with thousands of former military across the world, teaching them how to build a compelling personal brand. It’s truly one of the most fabulous ways I’ve found to say, “thank you for your service.”
RA- In my experience with (non-personal) branding, one of the most critical reasons to brand is the need to stand out from the competition. We spend a lot of time and effort to develop a unique “personality” and “voice” for products and companies, but don’t people already have those?
LC- Yes, everyone has a personal brand — they have a reputation. The problem is that most people let the marketplace define them and that’s where there’s likely to be a disconnect between your own reputation goals and the reality of how you’re perceived. The point of personal branding is that you are deliberately, intentionally, and strategically managing your brand.
RA- What questions should people ask themselves when trying to define their personal brand?
LC- My first book, “Reputation 360,” is really is really dedicated to this, and it starts with an understanding of how you’re perceived today: What do others perceive as your strengths? What do you bring that’s different from your coworkers? Then, we address the desired brand with questions such as:
What would you like to be known for at the end of your life?
What will be the greatest difference you made?
How do people feel about you when you walk into the room?
From there, we set a marketing strategy to ensure you show up authentically and consistently in networking, social networking, and at work.
RA- Should everyone have a personal brand?
LC- Everyone does – it’s just a question of whether they are managing it so their personal brand works FOR them, not against them. I help people figure out who they are, not what they are. We only get one turn on this merry-go-round [life], and it’s very satisfying to watch my clients find new meaning in their lives.
RA- In your opinion, who has the strongest personal brand?
LC- Funny you ask, because I just wrote an article about Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, he really delivers on the brand promise of a consistent experience. Donald and Oprah are perfect examples of people who are consistent in how they show up.
RA- In advertising, we onboard clients by setting goals and metrics. Do you follow a similar process?
LC- Absolutely. The goal may be to increase, maintain or shift reputation, even to repair reputation in some cases, and we use perception mapping and some intangibles to measure progress. Examples of those include confidence, deliberate and intentional application of tactics, and whether others are using narrative that you introduced.
Thanks, Lida! For more insights from on personal branding, visit Lida’s blog.