“This is our daughter, Amy. She used to be a TV news anchor…” That’s usually how my parents (bless ’em) introduce me to their friends. Yes, it was a really cool job title, but that was so 20 years ago. I’ve had a couple of cool jobs since then: News producer at a Minneapolis TV station, Media spokesperson for a major airline, freelance writer, communications consultant, and so on. But these things do not make up my personal brand.
I was inspired to write about this today after visiting the site of one of my favorite bloggers, Chris Brogan. He laid out for his readers exactly who he is, after getting advice from a friend that his personal brand was a “little bit muddy.”
As we all often do in describing who we are, Chris took his readers on a journey to show them where he came from, what he does and where he is going in 2011. His elevator speech, his cocktail party story and in fact the entire journey brilliantly summed up all the work that is Chris. Except he left out one thing. Who is Chris?
Building your personal brand for your professional business needs to move beyond the bullet points in your resume, and beyond all the cool jobs you’ve had and the projects you are doing.
We are so much more than human doings; we are human beings.
Because Chris Brogan invited readers to weigh in on his personal brand, I did:
Personal branding needs to help people understand who you are. That means you’ll need to be a little more personally transparent, whether you want to be or not. You do some of this in your blog posts from time to time, and those are always the ones I read. I can ignore some of the others because they don’t apply to me or the work I do–but I am very interested in what makes you–you.
What are you passionate about? What pisses you off? What kind of father/husband/son are you? Where do you get your inspiration, your faith, your values? All of these questions are more than just a curiosity, Chris, and granted some of the details are none of our business. But these are the things that make up your story. Don’t leave them out of your “How I Got Here.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Generation Y folks–those under the age of 30–get that in this day of social media we are constantly building our personal brands. Your website “about” page or business resume will elicit a yawn, because Generation Y doesn’t care about the talking points. They are hungry to know YOU. Your personal brand needs to tell them why they should work with you, or why they should get behind your product or service when a thousand other brands compete for their attention.