I’m still working on my keynote on Building a Personal Brand for November 7th. I think I’ve come up with a framework for the talk that I’m happy with, now I just need to round it out and execute on the actual presentation. One of the things I came up with in my brainstorming for the talk was what I’m calling the “Foundation of the Personal Brand” which is based on the 4c’s (not dissimilar to the diamond industry.)
I’d like to share those 4c’s with you here and see if you agree with them as the cornerstones to building a successful personal brand.
The 4c’s to a successful personal brand
Character – Character and integrity are at the base of everything. Plenty has been written about authenticity, transparency and ethics when it comes to creating asuccessful brand on the Web. I believe it speaks for itself and goes without saying that to win in the long run you have to be true to yourself and true to others. You also have to have the mindset of helping others with what you’re doing. If you’re not out to help others you’ll be talking to yourself. Without character, without integrity and the desire to help others you’ll never be successful in the long term – with a personal brand or any other effort.
Commitment – Building a personal brand using social media tools is not a sprint. Using social media to create a personal brand is the longest path to overnight success there is. Building a personal brand is a marathon. It requires a persistent consistency. Without that commitment to success you’ll stop before you even get started. You won’t make the connections and you won’t create the body of work to demonstrate your expertise. Without a true commitment to it you’ve lost before you’ve begun.
Create – Goes hand-in-hand with commitment. The most well-recognized and successful social media luminaries create tons of valuable content. You have to give to get. Pay in with amazing content, insight and opinion and you will be rewarded. Spend all your time on Facebook and Twitter and you won’t create the foundation of thinking that will give you the respect that you’ll need to propel yourself forward in your career/life. Sure, you can build a viral following on Twitter by being witty; but that’s like catching lightning in a bottle. Lay a solid foundation of your expertise by creating valuable content.
Connect – None of this is worth very much without connections to other people. If you’re not building relationships with people in your industry you’re not going to find the success and recognition that you need to cement your personal brand. While some of this is self-promotional, it is primarily being earnest in trying to connect with people in your industry that you can help and learn from. This is where getting offline is critical. Sure, meeting people on Twitter or in the comments of your blog is a great way to break the ice; but the relationships really get built at conferences, mixers, meetups, tweetups and other real world gatherings. You need to find the ones you need to be at and get to them one way or another. If there aren’t any in your area, start them. There is no way to succeed without connecting.
So what do you think? What are your building blocks for a successful personal brand? Brad had a great comment in my last post about being yourself which is dead on. What am I missing? Do you like these or not? How would you change/add/subtract to/from them?