Book Jeff

Be Your Own Brand!

I suspect we all know the importance of branding when building a business. But how much time do you spend thinking about personal branding? Whether you realize it or not, you are your own unique individual brand.

Originally, the world only knew the name Walt Disney. He built the company brand through characters like Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Pinocchio, and Dumbo. Their press and popularity dwarfed Walt’s. He might have been a household name, but few would have recognized Walt if he passed them on the street.

Then came Disneyland.

And not just Disneyland, the theme park, but Walt Disney’s Disneyland, the television show. Premiering on October 27, 1954, the Wednesday night program didn’t just make Disney’s first theme park possible. It also showcased Walt’s charisma and storytelling to a national audience. Quickly, loyal viewers began looking forward to Walt’s weekly visits as he guided them through his new park and provided personal insights into entertainment and animations. He became a trusted authority. A personal brand. How?

By using the camera to connect with each of us individually.

Ironically, Walt never wanted to be in front of the camera. He hesitated to host his own television show. So much so that the studio waited until the last minute to decide on who would host, even considering cartoon characters at one point. Walt went back and forth on this issue, knowing he wasn’t an actor and being concerned about how his Midwestern nasal twang would sound on television. He ultimately relented, reluctantly, because Disneyland was his dream, and he knew he was the best person to carry the show at the start. He was convinced, however, that they’d find someone better and soon enough he’d be replaced.

They never did and he never was.

The same is true for you. Especially as you compete in today’s internet world of influencers and social media marketing. The best way to stand out and differentiate yourself is to do what Disney did: Build up your own personal brand. Who better to tell your story or sell your dream than you?

Like Walt, this might also mean getting out of your comfort zone. Remember how I recently announced I was starting a YouTube channel? I’ve always felt comfortable in the classroom and a natural on stage. But for whatever reason, I freeze in front of the camera. Walt once complained about the “glum eye of the camera,” and he wasn’t wrong!

My goal is 1,000 YouTube subscribers by July 17. I’m investing in my brand by taking a course on how to “Crush It on Camera!” The first lesson is to look directly into the camera lens, glum eye or not, so that each viewer feels an individual and personal connection. It’s weird, but it works. I’ll update you and share more tips as the journey progresses.

My challenge to you this week is to do something that builds up both you and your own individual, personal brand. If you aren’t a natural networker, then connect with someone anyway (even if just for coffee). If you have trouble standing out, do something small that is distinct and different. What can you do to build trust and beef up your credibility with your team and for your dream?

In the opening broadcast, Walt declared, “Disneyland the place and Disneyland the TV show are all part of the same.” Guess what? You and your personal brand are all part of the same as well.

Thanks for tuning in!

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