Episode 42

Why a personal brand leads to a winning brand

What does it mean to be a brand?

One of the most critical barriers to success is understanding what a brand is and what a brand is NOT. I get this question all the time. Let me tell you what a brand is NOT: A brand is NOT a name, logo, tag-line, package design or the product itself. I call these elements: Window-dressing your brand. A brand is simply an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY that differentiates products, services and people.

As a former marketing executive at global multi-billion dollar consumer products companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva, I successfully crafted emotional identities for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Over the course of 25 years, a frequent challenge I faced was communicating the role a brand played in consumer’s lives…in other words its Core Value. To solve this problem, I developed a process to label that brand’s Core Value using just ‘One Word’. This helps consumers understand what they are actually buying.

During this series, I will select a brand I worked on or studied and share it’s ‘One Word’ Core Value, as well as share valuable topics in the branding arena that will help you Stand-Out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence…in other words, SCORE.

So let’s talk about today’s topic: WHY HAVING A PERSONAL BRAND LEADS TO A WINNING BRAND.

Show Notes (click to expand)

Over the last year, there’s been a lot of buzz on LinkedIn around PERSONAL BRANDING…SPECIFICALLY AROUND THE QUESTION:

DO I EVEN NEED A PERSONAL BRAND?

NOW, Some people think it’s absolutely ridiculous to have ONE
Some people think you absolutely need ONE – especially in today’s digitally-driven world 
AND

Some people think: I DON’T WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT THAT’S SOLD IN A SUPERMARKET…SO THEREFORE I’M NOT A BRAND….PERIOD…END OF STORY!

WE’LL…NOT SO FAST! BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE I COME IN!

AND why I wanted to do this episode…BECAUSE I DEFINITELY HAVE A POINT OF VIEW…AND I feel that given my 25 years of branding experience at top consumer products companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva…I do have the credibility to share my perspective on this….and I definitely have one!

SO…Here’s the simple answer to the question: Do I need a Personal Brand?

YES! YES! YES! YES! And let me say it ONE more time…YES!

HOWEVER, you may be surprised to hear why I FEEL THIS WAY.

I want to start by sharing the ONE question I’m probably asked the most often AND it’s simply this: WHAT IS A BRAND?

I want to share what a brand is NOT first….a Brand is NOT a

Name
Logo
Tagline
Package Design
Or the Product Itself

I call these 5-elements: WINDOW-DRESSING YOUR BRAND. Of course you need these elements to bring your brand to life….no doubt…but my definition of branding is as follows:

A brand is simply an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY that differentiates products, services and people…yes, people! 

You see here’s the deal: PEOPLE PURCHASE BRANDS WITH THEIR HEARTS…AND I want you to think about this for a moment:

We pay $800+ for an Apple iPhone…NO discount…and we don’t even bat an eye about it….and that’s because Apple makes our lives EASIER…and we will pay anything for SIMPLICITY…if you think about it, Apple sells us SIMPLICITY, not iPhones… that’s the EMOTIONAL IDENTITY of Apple!

AND when your brand operates from an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY perspective, it insulates the brand from losing customers to a competitor who could match that product’s functional benefits.

Now from a PERSONAL BRANDING PERSPECTIVE…to craft a winning EMOTIONAL IDENTITY, it starts with understanding my principle that:

WHAT YOU DO IS NOT WHO YOU ARE…BUT WHO YOU ARE SHOULD DRIVE WHAT YOU DO!

AND what I mean by this statement is this: Your identity is NOT tied to what you do – let’s say your job title as an example – rather your identity is tied to who you are…and I believe who you are is what I call your CORE VALUE…which I define as WHAT YOU GIVE AWAY TO THE WORLD TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF OTHERS…..I believe that everyone has ONE magical Core Value that makes them unique….and can be discovered using just ‘One Word’….I know that sounds crazy….but I help people today discover their Core Value in ‘One Word’…and I’m on a mission to: TRANSFORM 1 MILLION LIVES ‘One Word’ AT A TIME…before I take my last breath!

So let me shed more light on this…..

The essence of branding is about being the GUIDE of your story…NOT the Hero…

…You see, BRANDING is about giving something away as the GUIDE…and in order to be the GUIDE, you have to discover what you give away to improve the lives of others….

…This is the #1 reason we buy the brands we love….because they have a CORE VALUE that improves our lives….we don’t buy products…we buy Core Value….

…HENCE the Apple iPhone example I shared earlier….APPLE SELLS SIMPLICITY by easily putting the world in my hands…and absolutely improves my life…LET me give you an actual example…last year, pre-pandemic, I pushed ONE button called Facetime on my iPhone and I was speaking and seeing my son who was studying in Australia….I didn’t need to travel 9,904 miles on a plane (that’s 22 hours and 35 minutes by the way) to see his face….I was able to SIMPLY FACETIME him and experience the life he was enjoying in the land down under…to me that’s SIMPLICITY and that’s what I paid for….

SO using this Apple example, people need to ask themselves what they sell in order to improve the lives of others….AND that’s what I call your CORE VALUE!

AND THAT’S THE ESSENCE OF BRANDING…discovering your CORE VALUE and then giving it away to help others win.

 

So there are 3-concepts I want you to know in order to craft a WINNING BRAND and if you internalize these 3-concepts, I promise you that you’ll craft a WINNIG BRAND…BUT only if you’re willing to play the LONG GAME….

 

…Because BRANDING is EMOTIONAL (or as I like  to say, a Marathon…AKA the long game) and PRODUCTS are FUNCTIONAL (or as I like to say, a Sprint…AKA the short game)…

 

meaning if you compete on your PRODUCT alone, you’ll be dead in the long run because someone will always come in with another PRODUCT that is cheaper, faster or better….

 

….BUT 

 

…when you compete on your EMOTIONAL IDENTITY – remember Apple and SIMPLICITY – it’s much harder to pull me away from Apple because SIMPLICITY is what I paid for…not the iPhone…SIMPLICITY hits me EMOTIONALLY in my heart! 

 

SO Concept #1 is that your STORY is your BIO

I can’t tell you how many of my clients come to me and want to craft their Personal Brands…and think that telling their story alone is enough….AND the very first thing I learned in Motivational Speaking school is this: THE AUDIENCE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STORY UNTIL YOU SHOW THE AUDIENCE THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THEM…so telling your story is simply NOT enough to be your Personal Brand! Your story alone makes you a HERO!

THAT LEADS TO CONCEPT #2:

Your STORY + Your CORE VALUE Is Your PERSONAL BRAND

Remember, your Core Value is what you give away to improve the lives of others!
SO let me share my example:
CATALYST is my ‘One Word’ Core Value….
AND I always say that your story is your CREDIBILITY…so when I speak on stages across the country, I share my story in the context of how I discovered my own Core Value as a CATALYST…and how I now change the way people think about themselves…the same way I helped the companies I worked for think differently about the products they were selling. What I did at Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva was create a Core Value ‘One Word’ approach to successfully craft IDENTITIES for some of the world’s most iconic brands – brands like Godiva, Chips Ahoy! and Planters – so they could break through the clutter and stand-out. 
AND NOW I PIVOTED TO DISRUPT “NORMAL” IN THE PERSONAL BRANDING SPACE – AS A CATALYST – TO GET PEOPLE TO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THEMSELVES AND hence discover their own ‘One Word’ Core Value.

SO…My Story + My Core Value as a CATALYST becomes my Personal Brand…because now I give my Core Value away – as a GUIDE – to audiences I speak to by showing them how I can disrupt the way they think about themselves…so they discover their own ’One Word’ Core Value like I did…
The worst thing you can do as a Motivational Speaker is leave the stage and NOT be able to help someone who comes up to you after you speak and asks for help…I learned this lesson the hard way after my very first speaking gig…because I didn’t have a program in the beginning to help people discover their own ‘One Word’ Core Value….so my first Motivational Speaking gig essentially made me a HERO…NOT a GUIDE…a lesson learned that I will never forget!

Now what I’m about to say is really important: I can choose to help people discover their ‘One Word’ Core Value FREE-OF-CHARGE and never make a cent doing it…that’s a decision I get to make.

However, when and if I decide to drive revenue with my Personal Brand…

WE MOVE INTO CONCEPT #3 WHICH IS…… 

Your PERSONAL BRAND + Your BUSINESS VENTURE equals what I call your WINNING BRAND….because money follows Core Value

So back to my example: 

My STORY + My Core Value as a CATALYST + My BUSINESS VENTURE…which I call SCORE (Stand-out Conquer Obstacles Reach Excellence) is how I’m creating and growing My WINNING BRAND…because Money follows Core Value….Money follows CATALYST…

SO now when people go through my SCORE ‘One Word’ program, they’re PURCHASING my CATALYST Core Value – my ability to disrupt the way they think about themselves so they too can discover who they are…their magic…their Core Value…in One Word….The challenge is to continue feeding my SCORE Business Venture this CATALYST Core Value so overtime people come to associate SCORE’S Emotional Identity as a CATALYST….which is the same Core Value as my Personal Brand….which is the exact same thing that Steve Jobs did with Apple and SIMPLICITY!

I want you to think of your Core Value as the PIXIE DUST you sprinkle across the world to make it a better place….APPLE SPRINKLES SIMPLICITY – THROUGH THEIR PRODUCTS – TO MAKE OUR LIVES EASIER…and that Core Value came directly from Steve Jobs…check out my episode #26 to learn more about how Steve Jobs completely embodied Apple’s Core Value of “SIMPLICITY”!

So to summarize:

Concept #1: Your STORY is your BIO (This makes you a HERO)

Concept #2: Your STORY +Your CORE VALUE Is Your PERSONAL BRAND (This makes you a GUIDE)

Concept #3: Your PERSONAL BRAND + Your BUSINESS VENTURE Is Your WINNING BRAND….Because money follows Core Value

SO YES you must craft your Personal Brand by discovering the ONE Core Value you give away to HELP OTHERS WIN!

If you want to craft a long-term WINNING BRAND, then the bridge to connect Your Story with Your Business Venture is Your ‘One Word’ Core Value…and Your Story +Your Core Value is Your Personal Brand!

I AM GOING TO LEAVE YOU WITH ONE FINAL THOUGHT: PEOPLE BUY HUMAN CONNECTION…SO BRING YOURSELF TO YOUR BUSINESS VENTURE FOR THE LONG TERM WIN!

I’m Rich Keller, The CATALTST, and see you next time on The CATALYST Effect

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