Maybe those three words, “brand, promise, jargon” don’t jangle your nerves, but they do mine. I think it’s because slick jargon is hiding some important stuff I want to talk about. Stuff like, expectations, conversations, identity, reality, work, friendship and why the heck am I, Ms Hermit, spending so much time on social media?
The first thing I want to say is, You are NOT your brand.
It’s kind of complicated.
Any time you venture online you are creating people’s perception of you — and how they perceive you is your brand.
But, did you read the word I used? You are creating people’s perception of you. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, whether you believe you’re being completely unfiltered or not, what and how you share information about yourself (and that information includes how you behave) creates a version of you online. That version of you is your brand. It’s what services like Klout purport to measure.
This version of you deserves to be called your brand when you look at it and see that it is the value proposition you’re putting to people. This brand tells people it is worth their time, their attention, heck, maybe even their money, because it offers them … Well, what are you offering them? This is where brand morphs into promise.
And this is the point where I think it’s important to remember that you are not your brand. You are so much more than your brand. But there is only so much of you that you want to give away — promise — to others. This is why being conscious of the version of you that you’re putting out there is vital. People will (mostly) respect your boundaries, but you need to define those boundaries.
On the flipside, people will build expectations around your brand. They will believe your promises. So you need to make promises you can keep.
Brand You … oh jargon, how I hate thee … Brand You is not a false identity. Well, I guess it could be, but this is my take on it. Brand You is genuine. It is you, but it’s also you knowing that you’re creating yourself. It is you self-aware and acting with purpose. It is you wanting something: friendships, conversations, to share knowledge, to sell your music, books or paintings, to take a journey (literal or figurative), to amuse and be amused.
The reason why people talk so much about brand is because it’s an effective tool in the “look at me! look at me!” world of social media. There is a lot of babble, a lot of confusion, a lot of competition in social media. If you want to make genuine connections with people it really helps to offer them a coherent you. People like stories. Brand You is your story.