Michael, what makes you the personal branding Guru?


After I opened up to questions about personal branding, one of the first ones I received was one I was hoping to get: “Michael, why are you the personal branding guru?” Good question. Honestly, I don’t think I am a personal branding guru. If you do a search on personal branding, you most likely will not find me among the top results. You might not even find me in the first few pages. However, what I’ve noticed is that most people who rank among the top focus more on what I’d call self-promotion, not personal branding. Most of the articles and advice I see focus on how to get more of something. The titles are, Ten Ways To Grow Your Number of Twitter Followers or Top Ways To Get Noticed In Your Organization. There tends to be a focus on providing information on the tools and techniques you can use to increase your popularity. Indeed, it’s important for people to know about you and what you do. However, I feel there is a lack of discussion (in this arena anyway) that focuses on how to identify your strengths and how to first truly know yourself. What’s your value proposition?

I’m hoping to help fill that void. Yes, it’s important to understand how to make effective use of the Internet, social media, events, and networking. But the image you promote needs to be real. It needs to represent your authentic self. Before anybody else can understand who you are and what you do, you must have a complete and clear understanding of who you are and what you do. The first thing I do with clients, regardless of the size of their organization, is coach them through an extensive exercise where we hone in on exactly that. Until they can succinctly and clearly describe who they are, what they do, and why it matters, there’s no reason to expect we can effectively communicate that message.

About a year ago, I read two important books recommended to me by @VoxLive while I was interviewing for a job with Apple, Strengths Finder 2.0 and Strengths Based Leadership, both by Tom Rath. These books come with a code you can use to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment (so make sure if you buy these, buy at least one of them new). By the way, if you haven’t taken this assessment, I’d definitely recommend you do so. What I found when I took these tests is that one of my salient traits is that of the maximizer, which means one of my core strengths is identifying the strengths in others. Basically, I’m good at helping people do what they do better. If you’re interested in the complete results of that assessment, you can check it in this previous blog post where I shared them.

So, to answer the question, the thing that probably makes me most qualified to talk and write about personal branding is that I care. I truly want to help people get to where they want to be. I may not be a guru in anything, but I understand people and I understand branding. Until next time…peace.