In his post, “The Reason Why Your Personal Brand Sucks,” marketing and new media leader Christopher Penn talks about shifting focus from developing a “personal brand” to identifying our “essential quality” or the thing that makes us uniquely us. And that then the personal brand issue will take care of itself.
This resonated on a number of levels. For example, before I take on a new client, I spend a significant amount upfront time getting to know them, where they come from, what they’ve done, what they think, and where they want to go. Penn’s post made me realize that what I am doing is trying to get a sense of their “essential quality” or EQ, before I engage.
Clients who are in tune with their EQs are easy to promote. Their authenticity, often in the form of candor, passion and quirks, enables me to speak to editors, bloggers and conference content directors with complete confidence about what they have to offer.
Interacting with and working with high EQ people is easy because they’re truly authentic, which translates to imminently believable. And believability (or lack thereof) is the biggest problem with the whole “personal branding” craze. Much of the stuff that’s being served up in its name is artifice, or what the brander thinks his or her audience wants to hear. And we’re rapidly losing our ability to suspend our disbelief.
True, determining one’s EQ requires self-awareness and introspection, which takes courage and time. But it is a very worthy aspiration — a hero’s journey whose destination will at last allow you to present yourself and your company as who you really are: one-of-a-kind.