Welcome to episode 319 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.
It’s Friday and that means another 3 things episode. This week we’re going a little bit left of center and we’re going to talk about personal branding. I think this is such an important topic because there are some misconceptions around personal branding and having shifted to a personal brand a couple of years ago, I have learned a lot. A lot, a lot, so I want to share that with you because I know that there are a lot of questions about what’s involved with being a personal brand and if you have any sense of yourself left. That’s what we’re going to talk about. These are the 3 things you must know about personal branding.
Number 1, it’s not actually about you. I know, it seems strange, almost counter-intuitive because personal branding, I’m a person, on the brand, it’s about me, but it’s not really about you. It still ultimately about how you serve your community, whether you are a company that serves your community, or a person that serves the community, whether you are a product-based brand or an info-based brand or a service-based brand. Ultimately it comes down to solving the problem. It comes down to being the solution, and being the solution, again, not about you. It is about your customers, it is about your clients, it’s about your buyers, whatever it is for you. That’s what it’s about.
Personal brand, not actually about you, and some of you are heaving a huge sigh of relief right now. You’re like, “Wow! It’s not about me. I don’t have to be the center of this in the sense that I have to be on all the time and talk about myself at length ad nauseam,” some might say. No, really, it’s ultimately still about being a solution, being a value to the people who need your value, your expertise, your product, whatever. Again, personal branding, not actually about you. All branding in fact, guys. Pay attention to this. Not about us. It’s about the end consumer.
Number 2, it’s not about all of you. Often times the question I get probably most frequently about being a personal brand is, “Well what do I keep private?” This comes up a lot with social media in general, this what is for me and what is for everybody else? A lot of it is still not at all involved in your brand or your business. I am a business owner, I own the company. I am definitely a personal brand. I mean, TheStaceyHarris.com is the website. I run a membership site where I’m doing trainings, I’m answering questions. It’s not outsourced to some third party team. I do this podcast. I run all my social. Here’s the deal, though. That’s not my whole life.
There’s a whole section of my business an my life that don’t all overlap, that don’t intersect. For example, you will not see pictures of my son on my website. I think the only place you’ll see him on social is if we are actual good friends on Facebook, meaning I actually have you in the close friend category. You will occasionally, and by occasionally I do mean 3 or 4 times a year, see a picture of kid. If you follow me on Snapchat, from time to time we will have fun with silly faces. That’s it. He’s not on my Instagram feed, I don’t tweet about him. I don’t post about him on any of business pages on Facebook. That’s it. Although, he’s a massive part of my life.
My husband is another great example. You do hear about him. You will occasionally see photos of him because he works for me, because he’s who you reach when you email for questions about Backstage or though the website, you reach him first. You’ll hear about him but you don’t hear about our marriage. You don’t hear about that kind of thing, our personal lives. Occasionally on Snapchat and stuff there’ll be a date night kind of vibe. I think Snapchat is by far and away my most personal social media outlet, but it’s not … Our relationship is not a part of our brand. He happens to be a part of the support of this brand. He happens to be a part of the team, but our life together isn’t fodder for content or anything like that.
I’m saying there’s anything wrong with anyone who doesn’t do it this way or who does include their kids in stuff. That’s a branding choice you have to make. What I’m saying is you don’t have to choose to do that. You don’t have to choose to pull back the curtain completely and share every last bit of yourself when you’re a personal brand. No. The Stacey Harris is a section of my personality. I’m probably, in all honesty, an amplified version of a section of my personality and it definitely comes out when I do this podcast, it definitely comes out when I do things like Facebook Lives and webinars. It definitely comes out in Backstage. It definitely comes out when I speak at events or when I go to networking things or when I go to conferences or whatever, but this is not me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is an amplified version of the best, most professional part of me, which is saying something, guys, that this is most professional I get.
I think that it’s so important to let yourself off the hook when it comes to this idea that you have to be fully transparent with everything in your life, because you don’t. That’s not what a personal brand about. A personal brand is about giving a face and a personality that’s definitely aligned with who you are. Trust me, having been somebody who sort of faked a way through a personality for the better part of a year and a half with my brand. It’s tough, it’s exhausting. It’s much easier to be me, the sort of amplified version of me, but ultimately, it’s a section of me. It’s the part that serves you because again, it’s not about me.
I could happily share about my kid and my husband and my interests outside of business stuff, but that’s not really of any really value to you. I think the best example of this is we’re coming off election time and we’re going into the holidays. Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the states, so we’re full on in the holiday season now. You never see me mention holidays on my social media. You never see me talk about politics on my social media, and that’s not because I don’t celebrate Christmas. You guys know I’m crazy for Christmas, that’s why I take December off, but that’s not what you’re coming to me for. Does that make sense? Again, you don’t have to be all of you. You don’t have to share every last detail of your life and personality. You can keep things that are yours and I think that’s a huge fear and I want you to let go of that.
The third thing is it’s not the only way to be successful. I think, especially for a lot of you who are in the coaching space, who are in the infopreneur kind of space where you’re teaching and you’re sharing your information and your knowledge and your value that way, it can get scary easy to get wrapped up in the idea that this is the only way to be successful. It can be scary easy to look at the Marie Forleos and the Gary Vaynerchuks and the Maury Smiths and the Jay Baers and the Danielle LaPortes and whoever else is on your list and think they are all personal brands. I have to emulate that to be successful.
First of all, emulating their personal brand is never going to make you successful because you’re not them. The whole value in a personal brand is you’re the only one. 2, Gary V. has an entire brand that’s not him, okay? You talk about the fact that he was first successful with Wine Library and yes, he was on that and he put himself … But that was in marketing a larger brand. Yes, he is a successful personal brand, but also that brand helps support and is only a small part of VaynerMedia.
It’s not the only way to be successful, okay? Apple was successful even though Steve Jobs has a separate personal brand as the head of Apple. Apple was still its own brand. Apple’s continued to go on without Steve Jobs, for better or worse. Think about … I’m a big Disney fan. I think you guys know that. I’m a big Disney fan and I think about Disney as a brand has lived way past Walt Disney. If there’s any sense of personal brand in the Disney brand, it’s Mickey Mouse, hands down. Again, there’s not one way to be successful. There are a ton of small businesses who are doing an amazing job. There’s a tone of micro-businesses who are doing an amazing job selling information, selling services, and selling products as a company brand without the personal brand piece.
Don’t feel like it’s the only way to be successful. There is not one way to be successful, okay? There are a lot of ways to be successful. You have to find the one that works for you, okay? That’s it. That’s the 3 things I wanted you to know about personal branding. If you have more questions about branding, we had Kaye Putman join us who helped me develop my brand. Inside of Backstage, we’ve got an interview and training with her where we talk about branding. I’ve also got a couple of episodes around branding that I’ll leave in the show notes for you. We’ve had Julie Cottineau and Kay Putman also on the show to talk branding.
Those are great resources when it comes to branding, whether you’re a personal brand or a company brand and those people and teams can help you get through that process and figuring out what it is you are and what it is you’re going to do. Check out those resources over at TheStaceyHarris.com and I will see you on Tuesday.
Episode 27 – Better Branding with Julie Cottineau
Episode 101 – Brands That Stand Out with Julie Cottineau
Episode 129 – Personal or Company Branding with Kaye Putnam
Episode 261 – Book Review: Twist by Julie Cottineau
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