The psychology of personal brand

Written by Megan MacNeill

The Psychology of Personal Branding
July 1, 2020

When I accepted an invitation from Leisa to join a workshop on corporate mindfulness I never thought I’d find the very first guest for the Personal Branding Exposed Podcast.

Leisa Van Geest, Dr Marny Lishman & Megan MacNeill

Yet, that is exactly what happened as I sat listening to the presenter, it somehow felt like she was talking directly with me on so many essential elements of brand building. I needed to chat with her. Luckily she accepted!

I’m talking, of course, about Dr Marny Lishman, with whom I had the pleasure of chatting about the Psychology of Personal Branding.

Here’s a summary of everything we discussed:

The Alchemist

When I asked Dr Marny about her favorite book she actually gave out a neat little description of what she does for a living:

“Well, I’m a big reader, but I have, I’d have to say it would be the Alchemist. It’s pretty much what I do on a day-to-day basis, teaching people to create their own destinies and even particularly in the current climate. We’re going through adversity right now. And it’s like, how do we kind of steer our way around that, learn from it and redirect ourselves.”

That alone was enough for me to consider having a go at the book myself, and not just that, perfectly summarises why I invited her to the podcast in the first place.

dr marniy lishman

You are your Brand

One of the first nuggets of thought we managed to dig up in our talk was actually about a common illusion many people seem to have about personal branding: The Idea that it is a separate entity from yourself, or as Dr. Marny puts it:  

When we think about personal branding, we’re talking about ourselves because we’re all walking brands. […] whether we like it or not.”

That by itself is a powerful message, as personal branding is all about letting people know us which works the best if we are honest about it. This is why when you see someone trying their best to be “Mr Cool Guy, from downtown Radsville” your first reaction is to be averted by them. When it comes to getting your message across authenticity is key.

Why is Personal Branding so Prevalent Now?

Have you ever thought about why we need a personal branding strategy in the first place?

Dr Marny did and her conclusion was very interesting:  

Gone are the days when you kind of found a service that you needed by just reading a sign on the door or a small sentence that’s in the telephone book. […] Usually it wasn’t a name. It was an organisation. And now there’s, you know, Millions of business owners across the world and for people to find the right fit, they need to find someone that they resonate with.”

In other words, the way we choose who to work with or get work done by has changed. There is much more to it than just having a good logo and attractive slogans. Times have changed and so has the meaning of having a good brand

People buy from people. They don’t buy products or service. It is not a coincidence that large companies are trying to show more personality and become more local focused.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Our next conversation topic was actually something that does not apply just to personal branding, but to all walks of life.

You cannot please every crowd, there are always going to be people who do not like what you put out into the world. Please don’t take this concept too harshly, I’m sure you are a wonderful person, but it’s only natural that as more and more people get to know you, you’ll divide opinions, and while that means many will not like, or even hate you, the polar opposite is also true. And this latter half are exactly what will make building your personal brand worthwhile.

As a people pleaser you actually don’t please anyone, you just blend into the background. It is when you devide opinions and cause emotional reactions in people that you get real cut through and start to get noticed.

You’ll never have full control over your personal brand but by having some strategies around it you can certainly influence the thoughts, feelings and conversations people have about you when you walk out the door.  

Not Internet Famous, Niche Famous

Ultimately, building your personal brand is not about building your “image” before the masses, but rather, letting them know the real you, and yes that forces me to use that buzzword “authenticity” again.

You don’t want to be internet famous, you just need to be famous in your sector, industry or niche.

Of course, you might not know how to do that, but you can always contact me, as I’m specialised in personal branding and making you the leading name of your niche!

And of course, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn as it is my favourite place to hang out online.

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