Fresh Notes On Personal Branding: Get a Brand or Die a Generic

Fresh Notes On Personal Branding: Get a Brand or Die a Generic

by Michael D. Brown

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Overview

Fresh Notes On Personal Branding: Get a Brand or Die a Generic by Michael D. Brown


Life’s too short to stay “generic”: Build your personal brand and your career will change for the better!
In today’s hyper-competitive world of business, individuals must differentiate themselves in order to stand out and stay on top. Author Michael D. Brown’s Fresh Notes on Personal Branding provides readers with the tools and strategies to do just that. By following the book’s easy-to-use framework, readers will be able to build a successful brand for themselves that can lead to exponential personal, professional, and economic success as a competitive and “Fresh” employee, leader, or entrepreneur. 

Using Brown’s “Fresh PASSION” methodology, this short guidebook outlines the core components of brand-building—including “Preparation”, “Staying laser focused”, and “Omitting the Negative”—and provides valuable tips on how to successfully integrate these components into readers’ daily lives. Brief self-assessments following each section allow readers a chance to reflect on their own journey towards becoming a personal brand and identify areas of improvement. 

​Those who choose not to utilize their fullest potential run the risk of becoming viewed as “generic”. Fresh Notes helps readers avoid this fate by encouraging them to approach their professional lives with a fresh and proactive mindset.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626343610
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Michael D. Brown is a sought-after speaker, management expert, and author of Fresh Customer Service®: Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and You Will Get Customers for Life. He has over eighteen years of experience helping companies and individuals achieve results and has held numerous leadership positions at Fortune Global 100 Companies. Michael is a leading authority on fresh results and has motivated and helped hundreds of individuals and entrepreneurs create and deliver a competitive personal brand that yields exponential personal and professional success.

Read an Excerpt

Fresh Notes On Personal Branding

Get a Brand or Die a Generic


By Michael D. Brown

Greenleaf Book Group Press

Copyright © 2017 Michael D. Brown
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62634-361-0


CHAPTER 1

THE WORLD IS CHANGING. Companies, organizations, your boss, clients, and coworkers all expect more. They expect an experience that is different from the competition. They want an experience that is more value adding than the competition. They want an experience that fulfills a particular need, want, and/or desire.

So if they see you as a "generic," then you're in trouble. You've seen generic brands, the "no-name" products that usually sit low on the supermarket shelves. For the most part, they're not that radically different from the costlier name brands placed directly at eye level; they are often made by the very same companies as their name brand competitors! But whether it's due to their dull packaging, lack of promotion, or the simple fact that they are less recognizable to the typical consumer, generic products typically sit on the shelves for a long period of time, only picked up by someone looking for a short-term bargain.

Guess what? People can be generic, too. What is a generic person? Simply put, a generic person is someone who may be perfectly nice, intelligent, and talented, but who hasn't made any effort to stand out from the crowd. They probably went to an average school, got average grades, and have an average work history and personal background. They don't stand out as being especially bad, but they don't really stand out as being especially good, either. You could call them your average working stiffs.

What's wrong with the average working stiff, you may ask? Nothing, on a purely humanistic level. All people are created equal. But after creation is where the equality ends. In today's competitive, roller-coaster world, you're either a distinct and competitive brand or an extinct generic. In order to survive, prosper, and achieve great success, you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand. It is when you develop this brand that you will be able to deliver the experience that people are willing to subscribe to and/or pay for. You can't take yourself, your organization, your employer, your students, or your members to a new level.

Think about "brand name" celebrities like Michael Jordan, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Emeril Lagasse, or even Eminem! These people all function as personal brands, but they weren't built overnight, and they constantly evolve to stay fresh in the mind of the consumer. Like these and other celebrities whose fame has transcended their identities as mere humans, you want to build a brand for yourself that screams Fresh, Passionate, Determined, Different, Skilled, and Competitive!

Naturally, there is a lot more to building a successful personal brand than waking up in the morning and saying, "I'd like to become a personal brand today." Like anything else worthwhile in life, it takes time, patience, and effort. I have developed a methodology called "Fresh PASSION," which is short for Preparation, Aspiration, Staying laser focused, Selling like you are crazy, Invigorating yourself, Omitting the negative, and Nailing the brand.

What does each of these terms actually mean? Let's define each of these terms and then take a "pulse assessment" to determine how far along you are in your effort to follow each of these steps to becoming a personal brand. I will also offer daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly activities you can engage in to either evolve yourself from generic to branded, or make sure you remain at the personally branded level.

But first, let's take a closer look at the concept and rationale of Freshness as it pertains to personal branding. Putting the handle "Fresh" before "PASSION" is critically important, because without a fresh approach to your career and your life, all the PASSION in the world will likely not be able to help you achieve your fullest potential. You can't just land your newly developed brand today, put it on a shelf, and expect it to carry you throughout your college matriculation or professional career while you sit back and reap its rewards.

Anyone who has ever been in love (or even thought they were in love) can attest to this. The initial courtship is passionate, and you can't see enough of each other. But as you know, time goes on, competition enters, and that once passionate flame begins to turn into a flicker and eventually burns out. If a relationship is to have any chance of thriving long term, you've got to keep it fresh, right?

That same analogy is true for companies. Companies need change — strategic direction changes, the type of employee they are looking for changes, the skill sets they are looking for changes, and economic factors change — so you need to stay fresh in order to be in tip-top competitive shape. Staying fresh provides you with a greater return on investment for the employer than a potential employee who has just kept pace with the status quo.


Take Your Pulse

Now that we have delved into what "freshness" is all about, it's time to take your freshness pulse. Are your freshness efforts vibrant and lively, or are they simply "thudding along?

Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today using the following scale:

SCALE

5. *****

Wait, that's really, really true about me — strongly agree

4. ****

That would be me — agree

3. ***

50/50 sometimes, sometimes not — somewhat agree

2. **

That absolutely has nothing to do with me — disagree

1. *

Let me take the fifth on this — strongly disagree


QUESTIONS
SCORE

1. My friends and colleagues come to me for the most up-to-date information.

2. If you are looking for fresh ideas, I am the one.

3. My current skill set and GPA is the most competitive out of anyone I may come up against for a job and/or promotion.

4. I am aware of the latest technology that can help me personally and professionally.

5. When my friends and colleagues want a fresh perspective or strategy. I am the first person they call.

6. The last books that I read was one that was published within the last 12 months.

6.5. My resume is current up to date, and competitive.

GRAND TOTAL:


Analyze Your Score

Now that you've taken the test, let's analyze your score:

• If you scored from 7–13, your freshness is stale. You know what that means: nobody wants to purchase your brand and you'll soon be taken off the shelf and maybe even removed from the store assortment.

• If you scored from 14–20, your freshness is at the sell-by date. There is minimal demand for your personal brand, but only at a steep discount and when the more popular and competitive brands are all off the market.

• If you scored from 21–26, your freshness is day old. Your brand will sell if it stays on the market long enough, but anyone seeking a truly fresh branded experience they can leverage for success right away will look elsewhere.

• If you scored from 27–33, your freshness is same day. Your brand is a respectable choice for the discerning employer or client, but only as a backup of higher bidders get the more desirable professional brands on the market.

• If you scored a 34 or 35, your freshness is straight from the oven. Congratulations! You have the brand that is most in demand and fetches the highest salary and/or fees in your branded area of expertise. Your prospective employers and clients come to check you out early in the morning, when only the most competitive buyers are out evaluating the available options.


It's Showtime!

If you are currently in the generic range, here is what you can do to accelerate to a competitive brand.


FREQUENCY WHAT CAN I DO?

DAILY
Make one phone call to a prospective
employer, client, or direct connection to an
employer or client.

WEEKLY
Read one article by a well-respected expert
in your branded area of expertise.

MONTHLY
Attend one professional networking event
related to your branded area of expertise.

QUARTERLY Attend a class, seminar, or informational session
related to your branded area of expertise.

YEARLY
Obtain at least one new certification or
professional citation in your branded area of
expertise.


If you are currently a brand, here is what you can do to enhance and strengthen your brand to keep it fresh, competitive, and positioned to yield exponential personal, professional, and economic success!


FREQUENCY WHAT CAN I DO?

DAILY
When you wake up, make a list of five
things you will do by the end of the day to
enhance your brand.

WEEKLY
Ask at least one satisfied employer or client
what you can do to improve your service.

MONTHLY
Contact at least one member of your
professional network to renew ties, find
out how you can better serve them, and
generally catch up on their life and what
they see happening in your branded area
of expertise.

QUARTERLY Volunteer for at least one cause, event, or
organization relating to your branded area of
expertise. Alternatively, take on a leadership
role at an existing professional cause, event,
or organization in which you participate.

YEARLY
Review your professional network.

Remove anyone who has gotten stale,
and identify at least 10 fresh new targets
to add in the coming year.


PREPARATION

Preparation helps you get a large part of the substance for your brand building. Earlier in your career, this can be used to help you conduct stellar interviews with the best companies and have your pick of the job that best suits your personal and professional goals. Later in your career, preparation can be used to make you a top performer and obtain the promotions and accolades that will propel your career forward at a breakneck speed.

For professionals, being prepared means continuing your education through classes, professional development, and simply maintaining an active intellectual interest in your career and your life, staying current on the latest trends and employer and customer demands in your field, taking on project assignments, asking your boss what you can do to become a better performer, and seizing every opportunity to stay front and center by volunteering for committees and gladly accepting additional work.


Take Your Pulse

Once again, for each question, use the same five-point scale as before to determine your score. Then tally up all 6.5 scores to see just how well prepared you are to create a branded area of expertise:

SCALE

5. *****

Wait, that's really; really true about me — strongly agree

4. ****

That would be me — agree

3. ***

50/50 sometimes, sometimes not — somewhat agree

2. **

That absolutely has nothing to do with me — disagree

1. *

Let me take the fifth on this — strongly disagree


QUESTIONS
SCORE

1 I have a fully realized ideal of personal and professional success around which I build all my preparatory efforts.

2. I have the utmost confidence that I am truly prepared to achieve success and have no doubts about my ability to overcome any obstacle, no matter how unpredictable.

3. I have mastered the specific skills necessary to achieve success by being a branded expert in my chosen field, organization, business, and or/company.

4. I have obtained all the credentials necessary to achieve success by being a branded expert in my chosen field, organization, business, and/or company.

5. I feel a burning competitive desire that pushes me to always take additional steps toward being prepared rather than feel satisfied with my preparatory efforts.

6. I know the skill sets and the mental attitudes of three people who have achieved success in the area in which 1 want to succeed.

6.5. I gain a new competitive skill on at least a quarterly basis.

GRAND TOTAL:


Analyze Your Score

Now that you've taken the test, let's analyze your score:

• If you scored from 7–13, your preparedness is critical. You have the brand health equivalent to that of a person who never exercises, does not watch what they eat, and possibly engages in other unhealthy activities as well. The prognosis for your brand's lifespan is a shortened and painful one.

• If you scored from 14–20, your preparedness is guarded. You have taken a few quick steps to get ready to succeed, but hurrying now will only make success take longer to arrive later.

• If you scored from 21–26, your preparedness is stable. You have done all the obvious things it takes to prepare for success in your chosen field, organization, business, and/or company, but so have most of your competitors. Those who take extra steps and think outside the box in their preparation are the ones who will achieve lasting and top-quality brand fitness.

• If you scored from 27–33, your preparedness is good. You have gone above and beyond the norm to prepare and are ready for some serious competition. But are you ready to win?

• If you scored a 34 or 35, your preparedness is optimal. Congratulations! You have taken the lessons of building top-quality brand health to heart and have thoroughly prepared yourself for all contingencies, including unknowns, and done the groundwork necessary to truly stand out from the rest of the competition. You are fit as a fiddle and ready to compete in the most grueling competition and come out a winner.


It's Showtime!

If you are currently in the generic range, here is what you can do to accelerate to a competitive brand.

FREQUENCY WHAT CAN I DO?

DAILY
Rise early every morning, even if you are
between jobs or opportunities. Once you
are branded, you will be getting up early to
manage all the exciting activities you have
going on, so get used to it now!

WEEKLY
Review your social media profiles. Make
sure all postings and photos are something
you would want a prospective employer/
client/coworker to see.

MONTHLY
Take one Saturday or Sunday and visit open
houses at nice homes to better understand
the end point of the impact of a promotion — being
able to purchase a bigger home.

QUARTERLY Ask your company's HR department for
a list of all open positions that are above
yours. If you see one that is a good fit
with your personal vision of success, start
doing whatever is necessary to obtain a
promotion.

YEARLY
Review what you really want to do. Not just

"succeed," but define what success means
in every aspect of your life and what steps
you must follow to achieve it.


If you are currently a brand, here is what you can do to enhance and strengthen your brand through preparedness.

FREQUENCY WHAT CAN I DO?

DAILY
Remember that every day you must prove
yourself anew. No coasting on yesterday's
success.

WEEKLY
Ask at least one satisfied employer or client
what you can do to improve your service.

MONTHLY
Spend 40% of your monthly time
developing your direct reports (you are only
as good as the people who work for you).

QUARTERLY Perform a market check-review the latest
job openings, success stories, failures,
news, and events in your branded area of
expertise.

YEARLY
Thoroughly review everything you have
done in the past year to prepare yourself for
success. Make at least one major change to
your efforts and identify one right move to
build upon in the coming year.


ASPIRATION

Aspiration means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve your goals. This is your purpose, to fly high and soar to greater heights. Knowing your aspiration allows you to tailor-build your personal brand, otherwise you run the risk of building a brand that doesn't help you reach your aspiration. What is your destiny? Is it to graduate at the head of your class, land the perfect job, obtain a big promotion, start a successful business, receive awards and acclaim from your peers? Find your purpose, and whatever your purpose(s) may be, put them on paper and post them everywhere — in the bathroom, in your car, in your journal, to serve as a reminder of what you are aspiring to do.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Fresh Notes On Personal Branding by Michael D. Brown. Copyright © 2017 Michael D. Brown. Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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