When we create powerful marketing systems for aviation companies, we often look for “rock stars” in the companies we work with. People with great “personal branding.”
We’re all familiar with the “rock stars” of the aviation industry – the Richard Bransons, Elon Musks, Lynn Tiltons and Herb Kellehers – larger than life personalities whose personal brand propel the company into conversation in hangars, FBOs, and aviation conventions.
But not all rock stars are CEOs. And not all are at large companies. And not all are widespread household names. They may only be famous among a very narrow subset of the industry. Personal branding for you might mean something entirely different – in fact that’s the whole point.
Some are in sales or customer service. Some are entrepreneurs or solopreneurs – doctors, lawyers and insurance people. But in very specific niches and industries, one or two names come to mind of the rock stars or influences in those areas.
The superpowers of a person with great personal branding include:
- The ability to get the attention of prospects, investors or influencers; without chasing or begging.
- A recognized status as an expert in their particular field.
- A higher-than average level of influence to get people to agree to their point of view.
- More “ink” in the industry press.
- More “word of mouth” referred business and connections.
They seem to do all of these things with greater ease than “average” people. How do they do it?
It doesn’t come naturally.
They didn’t just wake up one morning famous and influential.
These people have put significant thought and effort into the way that they present themselves and their message.
And most of them had help from marketing and branding professionals.
But, there is a method to this. You don’t have to be a genius. (In fact, real live “rocket scientists” seem to have more trouble with this because it seems too simple to be effective.)
The opposite of personal branding – An uncrafted message.
Before we outline the process, I’d like to illustrate the opposite of what we’re talking about with a short story (about a long story!)
When my son was very young, my good friend took him, along with her own children, to a movie. I don’t remember which movie it was, but it was an action-packed Disney (or Disney-like) movie for kids.
The next day, my son and I were working in the garden and I asked him to tell me about the movie.
“It was great!” he exclaimed, in typical four-year-old fashion, and proceeded to tell me the entire story.
There was much backtracking as he filled in gaps in the narrative.
“Oh, wait, before that happened, I have to tell you about this . . . “
There were also repeats of the highlights as he told me about them in several different ways with different dramatic gestures and sound-effects.
It was incredibly entertaining to both of us as we pulled weeds and picked vegetables.
When I looked at my watch as I pulled off my gardening gloves, I realized he’d spent about four hours telling me about a movie that had lasted less than two hours.
Uncrafted Messages in the World of Grown Ups
You may have employees or co-workers who communicate haphazardly as well.
The artless enthusiasm of a four-year-old is charming. The undisciplined communication of an adult, particularly in a professional environment is, well, something less than charming.
You Get 15 Seconds
Most interactions among businesspeople happen very quickly. We don’t get four hours to tell our story.
Carol Kinsey Gorman reported in Forbes magazine that it’s really only seven seconds, but let’s agree that it’s a very narrow window to make a first impression or convey the gist of a message before the people you’re talking to come to a very difficult-to-change conclusion about what you’re saying.
Is this the way it should be? Isn’t this terribly shallow?
We can argue about whether it’s right or fair, or we can spend that energy using what we know, and become a master of the sound bite and the visual image.