You probably recoil at the term “Personal Brand.” I know I used to. Then I had two separate insights that changed my mind. The first was on brand in general, the second on fame.
Let’s start with brand. Consulting guru Alan Weiss adapts the classic ‘brand is a uniform representation of the quality of a good or service’ definition with his take: your brand is what people think about you when you’re not around. Alan posits you want to position yourself to where a CEO will say, “Get me Alan Weiss,” instead of “Get me a consultant.” That’s powerful positioning along the lines of the famous “no one ever got fired for hiring IBM.”
My friend Rory Sutherland often says brand doesn’t really portray quality as much as letting you know a good or service “probably isn’t crap.”
And Rory takes this line of thinking further when it comes to fame. “If you’re famous, more lucky things happen to you than if you’re obscure.” He notes you can’t predict in advance what form the luck will take, nor can you attribute in retrospect the good luck that comes about because of your fame.
If you’re a famous company CEO, you can pretty much ring anybody in the world who isn’t a president or prime minister and have them actually call you back. If you work for Zog, Inc., nobody ever calls you back. Rory also notes if you’re famous, people will want to come work for you; and they’ll do it for less money because they want a famous brand on their CV. People will come to you with ideas, opportunities, and proposals, just because you’re famous.
How do you capture that on a spreadsheet?