As a marketing aficionado I am passionate for story telling. I recall from a young age creating my very own magazines and story books with cut out pictures of soccer heroes (from Sporting Clube de Portugal) and drawings of wrestling foes (WWE was one of the first American exports I consumed). I knew early on I would be involved with communicating stories and so my future became clear to me. My youth influenced my definition of marketing:
“The ability to share a message that compels others to act; to embrace what is being witnessed and experienced; to join in.”
Simple and objective. That is what a marketing message should be like.
I often see my own life through the lens of the marketer inside of me. And this is where it gets messy.
Marketing yourself – truth vs. deception
In today’s world everyone has a Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profile. We post to our advantage, smiling bright on our never-ending selfies, and commenting eloquently as we share highlights from our own little world. With every Like our brand impact increases. But the reality is that we are all image managers trying our hardest not to fall apart and adjusting to our audiences. Eager to satisfy the cravings of a hungry mob we adjust our thinking and our attitudes for attention.
Some succeed. Some don’t. In some cases, the lies take over and pure souls are swallowed. If we are brutally honest, inside, we are broken. In secret we try to mend our broken hearts and glue pieces of our shattered lives so we can look perfect. No one posts the fights they had with their spouse on Facebook. Professionals don’t shine the spotlight on the mistakes they made at work on LinkedIn. But when I look in the mirror that is what I see. The reality is that I’m not perfect. I make mistakes often and fail terribly in my role as husband, father, son, friend and co-worker. I’m a broken leader but that’s okay.
Branding for a purpose
Creating a personal brand should be aimed at more than a career. Instead we need to look for a purpose. Defining and focusing on a purpose allows your brand to be real, alive and… imperfect. You learn the most when you are vulnerable and accept your mistakes. It also provides perspective. You see, perspective doesn’t shape reality. Instead, reality shapes the perspective of your brand. The world may tell me that the image I need to portray is one of confidence and ease; but my purpose reminds me that through my daily struggles my leadership is being shaped to better understand those around me and just lead. And there is no better way to lead than selflessly.
Made for something bigger than me
True purpose gives room to real selflessness. When you aim for something bigger than yourself your storyline becomes simple and clear; even through the brokenness. I want to be a leader at home and at work. This is why I serve with Hope Community Church and the Marketplace Matters Ministry. Through the years I’ve been able to pour into people’s lives and grow in the process. I’ve shared my struggles and my deepest pains. Still, I’ve grown to lead well by knowing that it is not about me. It is about serving my family, my neighbors, my co-workers, my friends. This was clear in Jesus’ teachings and exemplified by His ultimate sacrifice.
So how would your personal brand look if your value proposition and culture statement reflected brokenness and selflessness? God provided Paul an image that exemplifies it perfectly in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9:
“But he (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
Paul went on to boast of his weaknesses knowing that God’s power would rest on him. That was his purpose and it was aimed at connecting others with God not him. His brand was shaped in a way that to this day people look at Paul as an example to follow.
Are you building your brand with a purpose?