Posted by: davidsandusky | April 18, 2009

Complications of Personal Brand Simplified

In executive recruiting, my clients and/or associates would often describe a certain “kind” of person we need to be recruiting for a particular business plan and culture.  Within industry or disciple that “kind” of person had a name.  An example statement would be “Get me ‘a’ Brett Godfrey” 

Get me ‘a’ Brett Godfrey does not mean get me Brett Godfrey.  There is a huge difference.  The cost associated with Getting the CEO and co-founder of Virgin Blue including his bleeding heart passion for the company makes Brett rather untouchable.  Good job Richard Branon!    

Getting ‘a’ Brett Godfrey means finding someone who has the professional characteristics you desire.  It might be someone who can start and grow a different kind of airline or it might be someone who has proven ability to recruit for attitude and build a unique culture.  Getting a type of person is known by the unmistakable feeling in the room when everyone knows what you are talking about.  That type of person becomes easy to identify, with individuality keeping him from being a commodity.  Being the actual Brett Godfrey is an unmistakable personal brand.  You don’t have to know the details about the story; Richard Branson knows the unmistakable personal brand.  They shared vision including hiring a genuine smile (no airline experience required) – Remarkable!  Richard Branson writes about Brett Godfrey in the chapter simply called “Brand” in his book, Business Stripped Bare.  I thought about Brett as my example over many because of this statement by Branson in the book:

Brett’s naturally a Virgin sort of person. Had he never worked with us, his thinking would not be radically different today.  But I believe thinking about the Virgin brand enabled him to focus, and to convey values quickly and efficiently to his colleagues and his staff.  

Speaking of the Brand chapter in Branson’s book, I find it remarkable that branson writes about the company and people always being on brand.  I am not surprised such a natural brand manager included businesses, culture, personal brand and recruiting in the same chapter. 

Branson knows his role in the image of the company. He says his own high-profile adventures have not just highlighted the brand, they personified it.  He finds the trick is to find your own way to personify your own brand values and thinks you will feel the advantage – I know you will!  Branson goes on to say he feels it is important for the public relations people to build the profile of individual companies and their leaders. 

A “type” of personal brand spans across what we do. Independent service providers, politicians, athletes and public speakers are examples of personal brand strategies around longer than you and I have been alive.  Think about a conference you are attending.  The subject matter is why you are on the list, the speaker is why you go. The experience is why you follow.  That experience is the brand a conference leader must find and it comes in the form of a person. 

I will share my own speaking experience as an excellent example.  The DaVinci Institute in Denver has monthly bootcamps which are half day intense workshops on a variety of subjects by experts in the field.  Last year a bootcamp was about launching products.  They identified two of the best product and brand experts on the planet.  During the initial meeting about the upcoming event idea, my name came up as a third speaker.  I have not launch near the amount of products the others have?  Why me?  They said “Get us ‘a’ David Sandusky if he is not available. 

What did they mean by ‘a’ David Sandusky?  They knew, I knew and the target audience knew making me the right experience to talk about launching products.  What they knew was my passion of personal brand and what people mean in the equation.  In this case, the customer.  Brilliant! For me, on brand so I did it!

Personal brand is a complicated subject because brand is a complicated subject.  That is why it is so fascinating and hard to do well.  If it helps you, work on being the kind of person companies, communities and events need and be easy to find.  Done!


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