Successful People Crush It with Their Personal Brand

Competence is one of the four keys to career and life success in my Common Sense Success System.  I also discuss it in some detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success; Your Success GPS; and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) becoming a consistently high performer; 3) dynamic communication skills; and 4) becoming interpersonally competent. 

There are four key competencies that will help you become a career and life success:

  • You have to be able to create positive personal impact.
  • You have to be become an outstanding performer.
  • You have to be a dynamic communicator – in conversation, writing and presentations.
  • You have to build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life.

Creating, building and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  Personal brands are not just for celebrities and entrepreneurs.  Personal brands are for everyone interested in building a successful life and career.  In today’s economy, you need to stand out as a unique individual within your field.  The days of joining a company right out of school and staying with it your entire career are long gone.  In this transient economy, you need to promote yourself as a professional in your chosen field.

I am the Common Sense Guy.  This brand has served me well.  People know that they will get down to earth common sense advice from me, presented in an easy to apply manner, because after all, I’m just a guy. 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book Crush It! is all about the importance of personal branding.  Gary is writing to an entrepreneurial audience, but anyone interested in becoming a personal and professional success can benefit from his advice.  He says that your personal brand is…

“The authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else.”

That’s why I like my Common Sense Guy brand.  There may be a few people out there dispensing common sense, but I know of no one else doing it in as informal “guy” way as me.  I am the Common Sense Guy.  The Common Sense Guy is my authentic self.  You get the idea.

Gary has a site called Wine Library TV.  It’s a video blog.  He discusses wine.  He has a huge following.  I had never heard of it until I read Crush It!  There was no reason for me to.  I had my last glass of wine over 20 years ago.  However, after reading the book, I checked it out.  And as Gary says…

“Watch me for two seconds and you know exactly who I am and what I stand for.  Authenticity is key.  Now, that can definitely be a double-edged sword.  I know there are people out there who think I’m a jerk with my Jet spit bucket, my table littered with toys and my colorful language.  I’m loud.  I’m over the top.  I’m hyper.  But I am who I am.  I’m for real, and overall people like that.”

Gary get’s it about branding.  You want to be a Cherry Carcia brand, not a plain vanilla one.  A good brand will attract a lot of people – it will also repel many others.  Wine snobs probably don’t like Gary.  And that’s OK with him, because they aren’t his target market.

My Common Sense Guy brand isn’t for everyone.  A lot of prospective clients know I have a Harvard PhD.  At first meeting, many of them are expecting me to be a bit of an egg head, very theoretical.  I understand success theory alright, I just choose to not express myself theoretically, I choose to turn theory into common sense and present it in a matter of fact guy to guy, or guy to gal way.  I remember meeting a prospective client who said, “You don’t act like a Harvard guy.”  I said, “Thank you.”  That resonated with him.  I don’t know what he expected a Harvard guy to be like, but by not meeting his expectations, I got the business.

Several years ago, I met a talent agent in LA.  He loved my Common Sense Guy brand.  He had visions of turning me into another Jim Creamer – the wild and crazy stock picking guy.  He envisioned me doing a show that highlighted business blunders, and then pointing out what idiots the people were who made these blunders.  It might have been fun, and it might have been lucrative given the economic meltdown, but it wasn’t me.  I’m not the kind of guy who likes to point out other people’s mistakes and then laugh at them.  A show like this would not have showcased my authentic self.  I choose to look at mistakes as learning opportunities. 

It comes back to Gary Vaynerchuk’s ideas about authenticity.  While you need to develop your unique personal brand, your brand needs to be authentically you.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are competent in four areas.  They create positive personal impact.  They are outstanding performers.  They are dynamic communicators.  And they are relationship builders.  A strong personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  Everyone, not just celebrities and entrepreneurs, needs to build a personal brand.  In Crush It! Gary Vaynerchuk shows us how he built his personal brand and turned it into a lucrative business.  While the book is written to entrepreneurs, he presents good advice for anyone interested in creating a successful life and career.  Take it from me, The Common Sense Guy, Crush It! is filled with great common sense success advice.

That’s my take on personal branding and success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  If you’ve read Crush It! please let us know what you think.  As always, thanks for reading.


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