This morning, I had a fantastic session with a good friend of mine, executive coach and personal branding guru Runa Magnus. She asked me to be her guinea pig, which I figured would be ok. The exercise was a very useful one, not to mention positive and uplifting :)
Runa had me stand in front of between 40 and 50 people, most of whom had never met me before. She then asked them to call out words that came to their minds that described me and how I came across to them.
The photo shows the words which were shouted out – sorry they are in Icelandic, but the translations are here below :) … the blue ones were words that came from people that had never met me, then the ones that know me that were there (about 5 or so people) threw in the green ones. The one “blinded by the light” in the picture is “töffari” which can perhaps be translated as “someone cool” (it’s one of those things, I can’t really seem to find the right word to translate it).
The words and their translations are:
IN BLUE (from people that had never met me! )
Honest / Sincere
Informal (another tough one to translate, “frjálsleg”)
IN GREEN (added afterwards by people who know me)
Bundle of energy
Makes things happen / efficient
Giver of joy
Now here is the lesson. This is great! Yep, of course I am very happy with all the beautiful things that people said about me – and I did say that they should not be shy about mentioning anything negative which came to mind – but what is even better is that the words paint a picture of something that is consistent. It all fits together and forms a clear image of me which should make sense to people. From this I can see that people see me in a way that I would like to be seen, and in a way that helps me on my mission of increasing marketing capabilities of small businesses and entrepreneurs by communicating knowledge and helping them organise their marketing efforts.
Personal branding is fascinating, but not really the area that I am in – if you are interested in that, you should definitely check out Rúna on www.runamagnus.com…
What I would like you to think about is your company, your product or service – your brand. If you put it in front of 50 people and they shouted out the words that came to their minds, what would you be writing on the whiteboard? Would it be what you would like it to be? Is it consistent? Does it help in your marketing efforts? Does it help attract people and make them like and trust your company/product/service enough to do business with you?
This is exactly what a brand is: what others say it is. Jeff Bezos (of Amazon fame) said that it was what people said about you when you have left the room – which is true – technically the exercise would have been even better if I had not been able to hear what people said – but it is still a good and useful exercise.
Think about this. People are going to have words to describe how they feel about your company/product/service and the thoughts that come to mind. You need to do everything within your power to make sure that what they have in their minds is what you want to have in their minds ;)