Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Understanding Personal Branding

Most of you know that I'm a love-to-learn kind of gal. I have an inner drive for information that most would deem a little on the obsessive side. Lately I've been delving into the dark world a branding, and so when I had an opportunity to attend a free webinar by a major guru of all things marketing I jumped at the chance.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. We started off the thing by discussing the importance of clothes. How one appears directly impacts one's worth in this world.  This is your personal brand.We need friends to tell us when we look bad, when we aren't presentable to the world, blah, blah, blah. After ten minutes of drivel I finally turned it off.

What a load of  bullsh*t.

Three years ago when I first stumbled into the crazy world of publishing I thought I could hide behind the writing. I never wanted to do a public speaking engagement and seriously thought about using a pen name so no one would ever know that I had written so much as a post-it note. My life long friend discouraged the idea stating that it would be even more awkward if the book went nuclear and then I had to tell everyone that I was the author. So I started down the indie road of marketing using my book as every thumbnail of me when needed. I refused to post a picture because I had bought into the stereotype of what an author should look like ... and I wasn't it.

All this was going on during Amanda Hocking's rise to fame. So I did what any love-to-learner does ... I sat back and watched, took notes, I wanted to see if there was a pattern in whatever it was that she did. A pattern that possibly I could emulate. After all, her picture was posted all over the place and it wasn't some soft-filtered-glamour-shot of her with her hands folded under her chin, smiling demurely like she had some big secret. Her first pictures were of her looking all grungy and real. Like a college student getting ready for finals. Even a primetime national interview was done in ripped jeans and a beanie.

What I learned from the entire experience is pretty basic. Amanda's rise to fame was caused by Amanda herself. Her audience related to the author in a real and authentic way. She didn't need pretty hair, a svelt body, designer shoes and a whole slew of photoshopped pictures. She was an every day girl who refused to lose touch with her roots.

And that, my friends, is personal branding.

*Picture sources: RunaMagnus and Business Insider