One of the many things I have learned in recent weeks is the concept of a personal Brand. Dr. Steve Greene talked to students about this idea, and I heard it come out in one of my subjects in a short film I made last week.
Steve Jobs' biography taught me about the immense impact of one man's brand in changing how the world views design. Sean White and Michael Jordan have created unique brands that literally use their names. I abhor the Walmart brand and distrust the Facebook one, but for some reason still give them both my service.
While the idea of personal branding isn't necessarily new to me, actually sitting down and thinking about what my brand is was something I had never done. In reading articles like this one, I thought more about it. What is my "brand"? In other words, what impression do I give to others in and out of my work place? What unique skills do I have to offer? What sets my brand apart?
Faith and Character
In one of my favorite addresses, Elder Scott explores the important connection between faith and character. In this talk I see themes that I want to make an integral part of who I am. Traits such as consistent, humble, and in control.
Noble character is like a treasured porcelain made of select raw materials, formed with faith, carefully crafted by consistent righteous acts, and fired in the furnace of uplifting experience. It is an object of great beauty and priceless worth . . . It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction . . .You become what you do and what you think about. Lack of character leads one under pressure to satisfy appetite or seek personal gain. You cannot successfully bolster a weak character with the cloak of pretense.
At the end of the speech, Elder Scott gives a few key takeaways:
• God uses your faith to mold your character.
• Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming.
• Strong character results from consistent correct choices.
• The bedrock of character is integrity.
• The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith
I don't think it is a stretch to say that these points are phenomenal criteria in which to gauge one's personal brand. Character, brand, identity, image - I think they are all fairly synonymous.
George Washington: A Brand of Powerful Leadership
I have been reading Washington: A Life and am continually amazed at the brand he created for himself. He was incredibly observant, had remarkable self control and tact, was fiercely bold in following his sense of intuition, and was oriented around an unbreakable sense of duty and honor. In many ways I am reminded of the detail fanatic and design revolutionary Steve Jobs as I read about the Father of our country. If you look the book up on Amazon you can read a few interesting facts that are found there in such as :
-- Washington was obsessed with his personal appearance, which extended to his personal guard during the war. Despite wartime austerity and a constant shortage of soldiers, he demanded that all members of his personal guard be between 5'8" and 5'10"; a year later, he narrowed the range to 5'9" to 5'10."
--At Mount Vernon, Washington functioned as his own architect—and an extremely original one at that. All of the major features that we associate with the house—the wide piazza and colonnade overlooking the Potomac, the steeple and the weathervane with the dove of peace—were personally designed by Washington himself.
--A master showman with a brilliant sense of political stagecraft, Washington would disembark from his coach when he was about to enter a town then mount a white parade horse for maximum effect. It is not coincidental that there are so many fine equestrian statues of him.
To me, Washington is up there with Jobs and other icons who have meticulously branded themselves around a set of principles, emotions, and ideologies.
My Personal Brand
So, back to the question of my own brand. I am not sure exactly at this point how I want to brand myself. I am aware that whether I actively try to mold my character or passively let it evolve, I will have a brand whether I know it or not. Thus I feel it is important to be intentional and take ownership of it rather than let myself be defined by circumstances and other people.
In brainstorming ideas and concepts important to me, I came up with a few. These include: consistency, Integrity, simplicity, faith-based, healthy, clean and concise. That is all I have for now, but as I discover more about what I want to do and what my niche is I want to narrow these general principles into a specific mantra or brand I can run my character on.
I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.