This is my kitchen.
It has never looked this way before.
For days, I have been in the middle of packing up and putting away, clearing off and sweeping out. With a combination of hard work and window cleaner, I am making the surfaces in my home shine.
We are staging; strategically arranging our home to look its best for potential buyers. In this market, our realtor tells us, it is important to get everything right — starting with the price — to increase our chances of success.
Most of our rooms now contain about half of what they did before. By the time our home goes on the market later this week, many traces of our family’s personality will be removed to present a glossy, photo ready space. Counters clear, half empty and tidy closets, books lonely on the shelves.
This is not really how people live.
Of course, I know that, and realtors know that, and buyers know that. But the message we are creating is that of the better and happier life that they can achieve by buying a new home. And it works.
In many ways, personal branding is a similar process.
Personal branding is put-your-best-foot-forward, minimize your weakness, highlight your strengths, be competitive in today’s competitive work environment. Personal branding is a new way of life.
Personal branding is NOT about projecting an unrealistic ideal. If your personal brand is unrealistically perfect, those who follow will inevitably feel discouraged. A staged home permits people to use their imaginations to consider how they can express themselves in the space. As you are honest about imperfections and foibles, you help others embrace the freedom to be who they are, releasing them from the need to live up to your ideal.
Personal branding is NOT about crafting a false impression of your value. As you work at expressing your personal brand, you are showcasing your inherent value.
Personal branding is NOT about hiding your personality. Instead, it IS about shining: allowing who you are deep down to shine through in a way that allows you to connect with others and make an impact through what you do.
Personal branding IS strategic. The way you present yourself to others should be well-planned, thought-through, and carefully considered.
Personal branding sends a message. To create a personal brand, you clarify who you are and what you can do. Then, you present it to others in a holistic and recognizable package. As you interact in the workplace, your community, and the cyber-world, you gain personal and brand recognition, creating opportunities to engage and influence others with increasing success.
And it works.
This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
To me, personal branding is more about what you “DO” and not about what you “PROJECT”.
Classic tale of style versus substance. While style is needed to create a strong front-end, substance is what completes the personal branding equation. Impressive projection cannot replace real skills that, when applied to a business situation, solves critical problems.
To me, that is the essence of personal branding.
Fantastic post, Becky…and something, I believe, that needed to be said!! Nicely done! (And your kitchen, by the way, looks immaculate!)
Thanks Becky – this works well. I believe people are complex, and our personal brands reflect the different hats we wear, the different strengths we need for each circumstance or audience. Your kitchen may be used for a party, a cooking show… it will look and even function differently but its the same kitchen. And you can even paint it, swap out appliances etc and the analogy still works – we are always changing as people.
Thanks for the food for thought.
Hi Becky, It’s also good to remember that your brand is not static. It will change as you grow and your life changes.
Yea! Glad to see you make a contribution about personal branding. Our “customers” in education need to be introduced to personal branding and they need to get it from folks that are doing it rather than folks that are selling it. Very well said – concur!! Bret
What is the definition of “personal branding”?
Is it the way you present yourself, the way you present something or the way you affect the things around you or something else entirely?
Here’s a quick definition of personal branding: personal branding is a person’s way of presenting both who they are and what they can do to others. People know corporations by their brands and have associations with those brands. In the same way, when you establish a personal brand, people will come to have certain association about you. You might want to check out my social media page for more information about personal branding: https://mountainstate.typepad.com/leadership/social-media-for-leaders.html
Nice analogy and one that hadn’t occurred to me before. I’m dreading staging my home when we’re ready move. We’ve got every available space filled with bookshelves. Maybe we should only sell to other bibliophiles who think showing how many bookshelves fit in the home IS putting your best face forward.
I liked the analogy of your clean kitchen to branding. To me clearing your kitchen you could also be a metaphor to clearing away the nonessentials to show how wonderful all pertinent essential are so that your brand