If Donald Trump taught us anything, it’s that being yourself can get you elected president of the United States. Although being himself involved no thought filtering, no diplomacy and being guided by ego. This might not work for you, unless you have tremendously thick skin, a bouffant hairdo elevated by hot air and (supposedly) billions in assets. What we can take from The Donald’s political marketing masterclass is the importance of being authentic to achieve. Like him or not, he also touched on living with passion and having purpose in a world of automated bots and online fakery.
‘If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything’
You can take this Peter Marshall quote further: If you don’t have a clear purpose to your actions, there’s chance of stagnation and not achieving all you can.
Be the Brand
Audi represents ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ and De Beers believes that ‘A Diamond is Forever.’ (Or perhaps ‘A Diamond payment is Forever’.) You need clear branding to signal what you stand for. We all know that Apple ‘Think Different’. Sure, it’s grammatically incorrect, but it stands for something tangible. Unfortunately the slogan for Apple’s new iPhone 7 (‘This is 7’) translates into ‘This is penis’ in Hong Kong. But it can only be good for sales, Apple don’t cock about.
What does your personal brand mean to people? And what’s your unique selling point (USP)? A USP isn’t a meaningless slogan, it’s a compelling summary of what you or your business embodies. It’s your eloquent elevator pitch, it’s what differentiates you from others. It leaves people with a clear feeling and understanding of your personal brand offering.
Michael Jackson was ‘The King of Pop’. Barnum and Bailey circuses were ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Donald Trump is a real-life Bond villain. Could you be The Queen of Confectionary? How about The Count of Accounting?
This unique offering might take time to learn and figure out – and is often a lifelong process.
Having said this, you’re not a product, so stay human. Be the brand, but not in a forced way.
Simon Sinek is a leadership consultant who spent a few formative years in South Africa. In his popular TED talk he discusses why companies do what they do. Companies know what they make, sell and how they do it, but most successful companies know what their ‘why’ is. Their purpose, cause or beliefs. The reason to get out of bed in the morning – besides just to make money – which is a by-product or outcome of the ‘why’.
How and what is matter of fact and gets the point across, but usually isn’t the most compelling version. The ‘why’ makes it more personal, more compelling and often more relatable on a human level. If others know your cause, there’s greater chance of loyalty. With no cause or knowledge of what you stand for, the less chance of buy-in and fruitful relationships.
Be authentic and true to yourself, don’t try to be everything to everyone.
Have values and offer value.
Match your personality and interests to your work and ventures. Being passionate about what you do motivates others around you. Inspire others to follow their own paths and foster their own unique selling points.
Don’t forget self deprecation; being able to laugh at one’s self avoids too much self-importance. Be like the Nando’s or Skittles brands and lighten up.
And as Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’
Some inspiration for YMB throughout the world