In today’s very busy world we are bombarded with thousands of messages and images per hour. If you are a job hunter the dilemma is how to make your message stand out. If you are a recruiter your dilemma is also making your message to attract someone stand out. The question then becomes of how to make your brand different from others? Futurist Thomas Frey asked the question “Is there any kind of formula that can guarantee fame?”
Is Personal Branding the Route to Fame?
There are many routes to fame. Grandstanding has long been a successful route. As Frey asked would Van Gogh have been as famous for his paintings if he had not cut off his ear? Creating something new is a route to fame. Zuckerberg became famous for the creation of Facebook. You can become famous by writing a book that everyone wants to read much like Margaret Mitchell did with Gone with the Wind. You can do something notorious like Charles Mason, something controversial like Edward Snowden or something noble like Malak Youssafzai, the 17 year old who won the Noble Peace Prize. With a myriad of ways to become famous which would you choose?
Personal branding is the act of marketing and building a reputation for yourself. Zuckerberg, Mitchell and even Mason have a personal brand. They have a reputation and are known for being, thinking or doing things a certain way.
What route for you?
Frey points out that the days of famous versus not famous are over with. There are more levels of fame and many more ways yet to be discovered. My family and I watch a show called Master Chef Junior, season 2. The boy we rooted for, Logan G., won and I had the good fortune to interview him. He has a website, a blog, a spice and rub business; he has been to the White House; has become the youngest certified BBQ competition judge; has a You Tube channel where he teaches cooking and he is not even 12 yet. He has become famous and established his brand.
Frey says there are many more channels for fame than there have ever been before. You can get famous on You Tube, as did Justin Bieber; you can use Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Reditt and more channels are being created every day. You might have the opportunity to grab a new channel, or create a new channel and be famous before anyone else.
There are more categories and levels of fame than there have ever been available. You can have more readers; more followers; more views; more downloads; more appearances; or more clicks than anyone else. You can be famous worldwide, or in your industry, or your profession, in your sport, or in a multitude of other categories. Your company can become famous as a great place to work, or for offering a unique benefit or for having a unique reporting structure, much like Zappos.
Barriers to entry are lower
It once took a lot of work to become a famous writer. You had to go through the publisher’s machine to get a book published. The writers who were rejected are legion. Magazine article writers had similar difficult times. Today, however, anyone can publish a blog that can get you famous in some segment. Granted there are over 200 million blogs in existence, but the barrier to get started is so low that explains the numbers. It takes a plan and hard work to stand out when it comes to building a reputation or personal branding. What you do with the opportunity depends on the content and the experience you can deliver to some segment of the reading population.
There is no limit on human creativity and ingenuity. Putting your experience and knowledge together in a novel way, on a different platform, could vault you to fame. Everyone is looking for the “viral” moment. Of course you do have to be careful that you don’t go viral for the wrong reason. Having a tirade of the CEO captured on video and published on You Tube would not be the best employment brand.
Have a plan to Build Your Personal Brand
Frey offered some advice that I think is very sound. He said:
- The future favors the bold;
- Fame is best leveraged by those who are well prepared;
- Grandstanding without a follow up plan is useless.
There are a lot of ways to become famous. You just have to be prepared to recognize the opportunity and be prepared to handle it. Many a company became famous on Oprah because of her endorsement only to fail because they were not prepared to handle the “fame” she brought them.