Have you ever asked yourself why some folks get all the attentions like the James Bond in a movie featuring everyone else? Well, it is not because the movie is eponymous or so titled, it is because there is a bit of relevance and consistency in James’ act. James Bond is a brand.
The good thing is, everyone is a brand; but, sadly, not everyone takes care of their brand – and that is the problem.
We are all valued for our roles or what we offer in a relationship, at our place of work, in the community or family.
The covert KPI of preference, higher income, promotion, recognition and acceptance, have always demanded a big work on the ‘self’. The ‘SELF’ is the brand. It must have a strong personality to magnetize its worth. One reason we like movie characters is they are scripted, rehearsed and acted to fit a particular purpose.
Until you realise you are an actor in the movie called ‘life’, you won’t get your brand perspective right. How? Because, you weren’t born with what you need to get that good job, the right spouse, the award at the next AGM, or the lofty position you have always dreamed of. You have to develop the necessary personality to magnetize such worth.
A strong personality consists of three basic things: a specialisation, a standard and a style. These three (3) things must be as relevant as they must be consistent. If they are irrelevant, the persona will be a misfit and, consequently, undervalued. If they be inconsistent, the persona will be eccentric or lacking in depth and, absolutely, untrustworthy.
Great personal brands create unvaried expectations. It is all a game of perception; the consistent experience people have with great people automatically help those they relate with – which can be corporately, on personal or social level. That experience can help anyone to rate the relationships in their lives rate on a scale of ‘distant’, ‘valuable’, ‘indispensable’ or ‘dispensable’. This rating by contact and experiential perception determines how large a share of the corporate value (for fat paycheck and promotion), social value (vote or turn down), personal value (acquaintance, close or intimate) is accrued any persona.
Take this case for instance. Why is David Beckham a stronger brand than Zinedane Zidane, two spectacular footballers of the early 21st century? The difference is David Beckham is a scripted, rehearsed and acted persona while Zinedane Zidane is natural. The latter was more gifted and, in fact, won more personal honours; the former was well managed to gain relevance that bestrides the sports, entertainment and fashion world.
Of course, Beckham’s platform is actually soccer, which is his specialisation. But that platform was reinvented, being matched with the appropriate standard and lifestyle that resonate with a wider audience.
Simply, David Beckham is ‘a soccer star, a responsible husband and father, who dresses well and does a lot of charity’.
Interesting brand appeal, isn’t? It is simple: ‘you don’t have to smell grass and mud because you are always seen on grass and mud’. The appeal resonates with young people who dream of stardom without the prospect of the work and austere lifestyle attached to it. Consequently, Beckham hooks more fans; brand products splash more advertising money on him to hook up with those fans!
Conversely, Zinedane Zidane lacks magic when the ball is not on his feet. He ‘smells grass and mud’. That turns off young fans looking for an idol not just a skillful sport man. This is it: Zidane has a great specialisation but a subdued standard and lifestyle that lacked relevance beyond FIFA and UEFA gala nights. He is not scripted and managed for all commercial purpose.
Beckham is not the only strong examples of a strong brand. Donald Trump is a strong brand though much loathed. Barack Obama is a strong brand with subtlety; Pastor Enoch Adeboye is a strong brand with rare uniqueness. There are more, even in your neighbourhood and, yes, probably your spouse or that young man who was recruited in the office last March.
How do you become a strong brand?
- Choose Your Forte – Movie producers and novel writers always have an idea of what character they want to create. Did you notice the word ‘create’? Strong brands are largely a creative work that is maintained with discipline. If a character is to portray a ‘caring husband’, circumstances must not make him otherwise. So should you choose to be ‘an engineer who always delivers ahead of time’, or that ‘guy who talks little but makes the biggest point’, you have to work at it. When others are pecking on variety, you keep focus with a presence of mind that always reminds you of who you are supposed to be.
- Stick To Your Role Nevertheless – Donald Trump was unflinchingly aloof amid all the cries and boos. Nelson Mandela, from the day he stepped out of prison, stood for racial freedom, even to the detriment of his marriage and relationship with children, till death. Donald Trump, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama like David Becham are consistent. Unlike them, Bill Clinton had one moment in an entire life of great legacy that questioned his consistency. And that was the alleged affair with Monica Lewinsky. He should be grateful Hillary managed that for him well enough by sticking with him. Hillary was rewarded for that, though, and she built a strong brand of ‘tolerance, strength and devotion’ in the process – that is the reason she became a senator, a secretary of state and, later, a strong female presidential candidate. You need discipline to build a strong brand once you choose to be one.
- You Have To Be Extremely Selective – Once you have become a brand you have to be choosy! That will test you though. It means you are not to be seen in just any place, with just anyone; dressed in just anyway or saying just anything. You have become an actor and you must follow your script to fit your role, standard and style.
However, should you discover, there is something wrong with the perception people have about you, or that you just do not fit the description of a new dispensation, you can rebrand. It means retraining for new skills; repositioning, reworking your style and setting new standard for yourself. If you can do all these you would be ‘worth your weight in gold’ to your spouse, your children, your colleagues, your clients and in the community.