From time to time, foreign journalists ask to interview me about the concept of personal brand described in Be Your Own Brand and more recently on my perspective on internal brand building. For a whole set of reasons I happen to find the interview questions submitted by non-U.S. journalists to be curious and interesting. The perspective behind these types of questions piques my interest and encourages me to answer them with a new eye on clarity. I recently responded to an interesting set of questions submitted by a journalist from Spain and thought you might enjoy learning from both the questions and responses.
In the spirit of brevity, I will include the first question of the Q & A today. Check back next week to read the remaining Q & A’s.
Q. Karl D. Speak is the creator of a model of definition of your brand essence (competences + standards + style) (we call it the Brand Tool Box® Brand Model) successfully tested with a great deal of companies. To understand the brand as an experience that others have from your company or product was the point of departure of his personal brand research. The model, does it really work? Aren’t we as people difficult to reduce to such a simple framework?
A. As context for answering your two questions let me provide you with my point of view on personal brand. Following that I will address your questions about how we have been able to apply our brand model to help individuals become more effective at managing relationships in all parts of their life, including their professional life.
Over the past 10 years brand professionals have come to understand the importance of creating a model for personal brand as a viable tool to building a strong corporate brand. In one way we now understand that the enthusiasm and behaviours of employees has a great deal of impact on the strength of a corporate brand. In another way there are certain industries, e.g., professional services, where the brand of the individual has a greater impact on the customer than the corporate brand. Business leaders soon understood that a robust, yet practical model of personal brand was required to increase an organization’s ability to create stronger customer loyalty by using a portfolio of product, corporate and personal brands. Development of a personal brand model has become an important innovation in marketing.
The challenge in building a model of personal brand was to be able to leverage what we knew about business brand building without making the model impersonal. At the same time, the model had to be practical so individuals could use it. The key was to start with the things we knew were common between business and personal brands. As an example, strong personal and business brands share the following attributes:
- The strength of each brand is determined by how others perceive them. The value of a brand is determined by the perceptions of others. Perception is reality.
- Both exhibit a strong commitment to their values.
- They are admired because they demonstrate an ability to use their distinctive qualities to make a difference for someone else and their actions are very consistent. In other words both personal and business brand are perceived to be distinctive, relevant, and consistent.
- Others admire how the brand, in either case, has a vision for how it can make a difference for someone else.
- Both types of brands focus not only on what they do, but hold themselves accountable for the impression that was left as a result of their actions.
- Strong personal and business brands have demonstrated a long-term record of success.
The need for developing a model of personal brand that could be used as a business tool was the motivating force for developing the model of authentic personal brand and writing Be Your Own Brand in 2001.
As we developed our model of personal brand we didn’t attempt to create a model that would define the complexities of the human being. Our goal was to create a model that helped describe how individuals related to each other and how they could use their authenticity to make contributions to other people and to their employers. The objective was to build a model to help individuals build stronger relationships with others by adding value in each interaction, just like strong product or corporate brands.
With this in mind we translated our proven model of business brand (Brand Tool Box® Business Brand Model) that we have been using for over 20 years into a practical model of personal brand. At the core of brand building is making sure that the perceptions people have of the brand are distinctive and valued. The Brand Tool Box® Personal Brand Model is a framework to help individuals manage the perceptions they leave with other people. The model is based upon three simple concepts that individuals can use to define the way they interact with another person and ultimately add value in the relationship. The purpose is to connect each person’s authentic values with the perceptions they create with another person. This model allows an individual to build a relationship with another person that is authentic. A person can deliver the most value in a relationship (at work or in their personal life) when they are true to themselves and others perceive their true qualities.
Does the Brand Tool Box® Personal Brand Model work? Yes. Individuals have been successfully using the Brand Tool Box® Personal Brand Model for over eight years. In fact over the last five years thousands of individuals have used this model in the Brand Tool Box® Brand Alignment training workshops. We have been able to gather compelling quantitative data from individuals that this model has worked in helping them find stronger alignment with their employers and in making a difference with family members and friends.
Posted by Karl D. Speak