Authors: David McNally and Karl D. Speak
Publisher: Jetmove Publishing
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
Anyone that wants to succeed in life needs to create and build a personal brand. That is why we are examining this text entitled “Be Your Own Brand” this week. It is written by David McNally and Karl D. Speak. McNally has enjoyed an extensive international business career, including assignments in Europe, South Africa and the South Pacific. A lot of companies have embraced McNally’s works in preparing their employees for a competitive and complex future.
Speak is a consultant who delivers powerful insights and practical advice on brand-management issues. He has implemented his contemporary approach to brand management with a wide range of corporate clients and audiences around the world.
According to McNally and Speak, brand-building is typically identified with business, but personal and professional relationships can benefit significantly from using these proven techniques. They stress that a strong personal brand will help you succeed because it means you are communicating the sense of purpose, vision and values that reflects and embodies the real you. These authors say by creating a strong personal brand, you get to be more of whom you are.
McNally and Speak assert that this book provides you with practical tools to build powerful, profitable and enriching relationships in all aspects of your life. They add that it provides you with an in-depth understanding of the principles of successful brand-building in any context. They stress that this book also provides you with advanced personal brand-management techniques to help you build, refine and improve on your personal brand, in addition to offering you strategies for aligning your personal values with those of your employers and making brand-building a successful endeavour for your organisation.
According to these authors, as people of all ages and backgrounds struggle to come terms with a world where little appears solid or constant, the idea of personal branding has become more and more intriguing. They say the importance of brands in building and sustaining corporate success is well documented. These authors add that a brand is a reflection of the relationship an organisation has with its customers, embodying that which it is committed to and stands for.
These authors submit that for individuals to succeed in an ever more competitive complex world, they need to be diligent about building the strength of their own personal brand.
Structurally, this book is segmented into nine chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Personal branding”. According to McNally and Speak here, if you ever get the feeling that people even those who know you very well do not “get” you or that they do not quite understand whom you really are and what they can rely on you to do for them, then, there seems to be a gap between perception and reality, between the “real you” and the you other people see and interact with.
In their words, “Businesses deal with this dilemma constantly. Their most successful responses tend to focus on one key concept –brand.” McNally and Speak say branding is how businesses tell customers what to expect. They stress that things can change rapidly in the business world, and customers are more comfortable if they know what to expect. According to these consultants, branding is a familiar bridge across which businesses and their customers conduct transactions that lead to long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. They add that branding is the embodiment of what businesses and their customers value, the means through which businesses get credit for the quality they represent and deliver.
“A brand is a relationship. It is not a statement. It is not a matter of contrived image, or colourful packaging, or snappy slogans, or adding an artificial veneer to disguise the true nature of what’s within. In fact, a ‘branded’ relationship is a special type of relationship – one that involves the kind of trust that only happens when two people believe there is a direct connection between their value systems,” McNally and Speak illuminate.
They educate that everybody already has a brand, and your brand is a reflection of whom you are and what you believe, which is visibly expressed by what you do and how you do it.
Chapter two addresses the subject matter of personal-brand characteristics. McNally and Speak say, “To make personal branding work for you, you need to understand how a business brand works. The principles and ideas developed and successfully used in business over many years are readily adaptable to building a personal brand. For starters, since your brand is a perception maintained in someone else’s mind, how others see you is the central issue.”
These consultants say a strong brand, corporate or personal, needs to be so clearly defined that its intended audience can quickly grasp what it stands for. They add that for a business, its audience is its customers and for a personal brand, it is those with whom you have or want to have relationships. These authors identify the three key components combined to determine the strength of a brand as distinctiveness, relevance and consistency.
In chapters three to five, the concepts of the roles, standards and style of personal brand dimensions; purpose, vision and values of personal brand authenticity; and definition of your brand in personal brand framework are analytically X-rayed.
According to McNally and Speak in chapter six entitled “Personal brand promise: Making a commitment to your brand”, “No one else can define what success means to you. Success can have as broad or narrow a definition as you choose. What your dreams and goals look and feel like today, tomorrow, or a year from now is very personal and unique to you. We make no judgements in that regard, for, as we’ve said, the most important brand relationship you have ultimately is with yourself. Therefore, building a strong personal brand is not just about being authentic to others. It is also…about being true to yourself.”
In chapters seven to nine, the concepts of personal brand strategies; aligning with your employer’s brand; and the courage to live your brand are discussed.
As regards depth and quality of concepts, this text deserves applause, especially for creativity.
Stylistically, the book is fantastic. For instance, the text maintains simplicity both in presentation and language. These authors employ detailed analyses and illustrations to ensure easy understanding. They use graphical embroidery for visual reinforcement of understanding and include the exercise section to ensure active participation of readers.
Though one of the strengths of this text is the proper segmentation of concepts and detailed analyses, chapters three and five can still be harmonised for conceptual compactness.
If you aspire to properly position yourself through positive personal branding, then this text is a must-read for you. It is simply irresistible.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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