You know something is entering the hype mode when a cottage industry starts growing rapidly around that concept. “Personal Branding” is right there. Today, there are books, consultants, and courses on Personal Branding. Some of these resources are good but most of them dilute the concept of personal branding to that of blatant self-promotion.
No one can choose NOT to have a personal brand. Everybody has one. It's a person's promise to the world. To be more specific, it is a promise that one makes to the marketplace.
Here is my hypothesis: The more you contribute meaningfully, the more powerful your personal brand; the more powerful your personal brand, the more attention you will receive for your requests of help. The more help you receive, the more you can contribute meaningfully -- and the virtuous cycle continues.
So, the real question becomes: how does one measure the growth (or decline) of their personal brand? With what metrics should one measure the growth and power of a personal brand? Without the right scale to measure, there is no way for someone to analzye his or her progress.
Think about your own case. The personal brand growth question becomes complex as everyone around you is chasing after one or more of the following:
- Number of LinkedIn connections
- Number of Facebook friends
- Number of Twitter followers
And so on.
It is very easy to get tempted to join the race and start tracking the numbers. Since those numbers won’t change without you working on them, you may start engaging in activities that will make a positive impact on these metrics. Soon you will be busy with activities and the marketplace rewards in the form of increased numbers. Soon you are in a rat race where even the winners will lose.
So, what is a better way to measure the growth (or effectiveness) of your personal brand?
How about measuring, “change in the cost of making a significant contribution to the world.”
Let me explain. The underlying foundation for almost any personal brand is the contribution the person makes. The proof of the contribution is past accomplishments. It’s very important to note the emphasis on “past,” as promise of “future accomplishments” will rarely lend to any increase in the power to a personal brand. If you want to make a significant contribution to the marketplace, you need to invest time, energy, and resources. So, there is “cost” involved in moving the needle and making things happen. One way to reduce costs is to ask others for help. While that can reduce the burden on you, it introduces a cost on the people to whom you are making those requests. Plus, unfortunately, when you are just starting you don’t have a powerful enough personal brand for your requests to get the attention they should. So you end up expending all the energy yourself.
Your personal brand has a deep impact on a number of things, especially the attention given to your requests for help. So long as you don’t abuse that privilege (meaning you continue to make only meaningful requests), you will have more help at your disposal than some of your peers who don’t have that kind of personal brand.
What does this mean?
Simply that cost of making a significant contribution drops with healthy growth of your personal brand. This alone should be sufficient for you to invest in growing your personal brand.
Why not get started or if you have already started, why not accelerate your efforts in that direction?
For those who are interested in a deep dive on this topic, please take a look at Metrics that Matter Most. There is a self-assessment checklist that is free to download.
Rajesh Setty is an entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. You can follow him on his blog at rajeshsetty.com/blog or on Twitter at twitter.com/rajsetty. This article is an excerpt from his upcoming book codenamed “Smart, but stuck!”