How many people will you meet in the course of your lifetime? Estimates out there range from 75,000 – 100,000 people. Could be more. Of course the depth of those interactions also range but think about it this way…each person you meet and interact with throughout the course of your lifetime is the population of a small city. So as you consider all those interactions how might you improve on them? How does your personal brand impact those tens of thousands of interactions?
Just as products and companies have brands, so do you. I have developed the “Five R’s” of personal brand… Real. Relatable. Relevant. Resonate. Relationship. Each provides a simple and meaningful way to consider different dimensions of your personal brand and will help you formulate, reinvent or advance it. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Primal and at the very forefront of your brand is that you need to be seen as real. What makes someone real? There is a sense of empathy and we can feel what they are experiencing. They have opened the door into their life. This person is not a fake but authentic, an individual. We know it when we see it. We get a sense of them immediately and they create a special aura. By being real you are seen as genuine, believable, and human. In order to ultimately connect with others and create long-lasting bonds you need to be seen as real. What make someone real? It is not one thing on its own but a range of traits that ultimately makes you a person others seek to be associated with.
A primal aspect of our personal brands is that you need to be relatable. Just as being real opens the door, being relatable allows them in. People feel connected to you, and allows you to expand on that relationship. In so doing, being relatable has an inherent simplicity associated with it…you want for it to be easy for people to relate to you and minimize confusion. By being relatable, you create a positive feeling with others and they seek to be associated with you.
The third aspect of your brand is that it needs to be pertinent to the other person…there needs to be a reason why you are relevant to them. Being relevant could include a wide range of things such as your political views, the cultural interests you have or the issues that you care about. By being relevant to another person there is an “in the moment” quality of you that matters to someone else.
The fourth aspect is you need to resonate with others… someone strikes a chord with you. That who you are and what you say touches another person in a way that says to them, “I know what this person is talking about…I know what they mean”. They experience the proverbial ”Aha“ moment about you and think…”I get this person”. Like with product and company brands, you do not want to be a mystery, you want to create a level of understanding. Creating this foundational level of understanding by resonating with others can lead them to the fifth dimension….creating a relationship with them.
With any personal brand you need to ultimately establish a relationship. A relationship that someone feels comfortable with, connected to and has staying power. And as with relationships, you want to feel that you are special within the context of the relationship. By creating a relationship with another person you have bonded with that person and ultimately can establish one that might just last a lifetime.
Each of these dimensions interrelates with one another and on their own are important but when taken together will help you create and enhance a powerful personal brand. Remember what Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
Jacqueline F. Strayer teaches at NYU’s Graduate Program in PR and Corporate Communication and has served as the Chief
Communications Officer for three global publicly-traded companies. Follow her on Twitter @jfstrayer.