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brands need lot

This book provides the two essential elements that everyone who invests in self-improvement understands. Part I describes the theory, philosophy, and a little psychology about brand building, and Part II outlines a practical process with steps for immediate application in your plans for success.

The chapters contain numerous examples that illustrate and analyze how other individuals and businesses have built brands. Everyone is different, which is why we are all able to build unique brands. But this means that the examples are just that-merely examples. To use this brand/image-building process, you have to get underneath these brand examples and understand this brand theory. When you follow the steps and answer the questions, if youre doing it correctly you will come up with a unique brand identity.

The basic process of building a better brand has three steps:

1. Know your own true stories, experiences, and life-changing events in your personal or professional life.

2. Determine whats important to you based on your stories. This will reveal your values and beliefs.

3. Translate these values into a corresponding look, sound, and feel that no one else can copy, because its your story, not theirs. This will result in your authentic and unique brand that gives you the competitive edge in life for greater success-no matter how you define it.

The work required to examine, analyze, and define your true story and values from your experiences can be done alone or within the context of a group where responsible people help you ask and answer questions. Many of the questions youll need are in this book. Take your time and answer them. Later on you can answer them again because your answers may be braver, more honest, or different. Enjoy the process.

The translation of your unique values and authentic identity into your brand identity can be done with the help of the many examples given herein. Follow the logic behind the case examples to your own brand conclusion. Just as a skilled musician can hear a melody and know how to perfectly rearrange it, or a surgeon can look at a body and know how to repair damage, building a better brand takes training and knowledge as well as a lot of experience and talent. Dont be discouraged if, after youve defined your true stories and values, you cant immediately translate them into your brand image. By the end of the book youll catch on. The key is to keep asking if your brands expression in every form is accurately conveying the true you. Enjoy the results.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

From the time we dress up in our mothers costume jewelry or our dads hat and big shoes, we are faced with the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? Nobody ever answers, Me. I can remember teachers, neighbors, and job interviewers asking me the very question I wanted them to answer for me. Well-intentioned or just curious, they leaned over toward me and asked me what I didnt yet know: Who do you want to be?

From early on, we pretend and we copy. We deal with personal peer pressure, professional image-makers, and brand consultants. We create identities for ourselves and for our companies. And by doing so, we have created a world of brands.

Just being me is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. For many people, its a lot easier to be like the other guy. From the day we send our children to school, they are caught up in trying to become more like their little friends. They want to fit in, to feel comfortable, and to be liked. Some things never change: Most of us want to fit in as adults, too, even when we are meant to stand out.

These days, people are into building their images, otherwise

referred to as branding. In todays world, where we are assaulted with world-class brands everywhere we turn, it is an easy leap to understand that people have personal brands just as businesses have corporate brands. Brands matter. Brands matter because they can get the results you want in life.

Developing your brand can help you get where you want to go in life. If you want to go on to greater professional success, fame, and fortune, then you need to improve your brand identity. But if you want to like yourself more and become more satisfied with your relationships, then you need to improve your brand identity all the more.

Current branding strategies mostly work the same, creating brands that copy other brands. This doesnt result in unique brands or authenticity. A brand must be unique and authentic to be lasting and powerful.

The Time for Truth Has Truly Come

We need a brand-new way to think about brands in our lives. The best brands arent what you think. The best brands are based on true stories about your real-life experiences. It sounds simple, doesnt it? Just be yourself. Well, if it is so simple why dont we do it? Could it be that we dont believe that being ourselves can result in more success, happiness, and satisfaction? A friend of mine used to say, Whenever I feel bad about myself, I feel better if I can blame it on someone else. Is that why we look at others who seem to have it all and think, If Im just more like them, Ill have what they have ?

Authentic brands make a different promise. They turn the promise of an abundant life into the practice. The most successful people have an identity that is founded on authentic, true-life stories. These kinds of identities garner the kind of attention from others that simply makes life better. Identities that are based on authentic, actual experiences create brands that can positively influence the world. That kind of influence makes your life matter. And we all want to matter in life, dont we?

I believe that branding is ultimately all about stories and storytelling. A brand is essentially like the bare-bones plot of a longer story. The best brands are based on the true stories of our experiences, filled with the human qualities that we can all relate to and believe in. To claim a brand, you have to make the connection between yourself

and your world. Whether youre an individual or a corporation, you must make this connection. And nothing connects like the truth. It is the only thing that we can all relate to and accept.

The corporate world is learning the hard way that building a false image is not the right way to create a brand. Big corporate images that were previously hot have suddenly gone up in flames. Such world-class corporate logos as Enron and WorldCom are now remembered as En-Wrong and World-Con. Organizations spent too much money rolling out images with splashy logos and seductive ad campaigns that required us to have the sleuthing powers of Columbo. And, like Columbo, we discovered that they were lying.

For years, the practice of corporate branding has been used to create a lasting image and to demonstrate power and size. Corporations and organizations create designs for hot-air balloons, parades, credit cards, and clothing. And individuals wear the sweatshirt, use the credit card, and wave the flag to become associated with the images or to try to become what they promise. But is that what branding is-logos and merchandise and new corporate profit centers?

Forget about the image. Branding is not based on mere appearance. The best brands are based on the true stories and authentic experiences that only you have had. Behold who you truly are and become what you see; thats your brand. Branding is not a logo or a musical jingle. Branding is about influence. And there is nothing more influential than the truth.

What does this have to do with you? You may not believe it yet, but you have a story of your own that is true and powerful and the foundation for your success. Its your powerful brand identity.

The concept of a brand being based on truth is an idea whose time has truly come. There is a connection between the corporate brand and the personal brand, a connection that has never been stronger, tighter, or closer. That connection is truth. When we build personal brands on our true stories, we get the best results, both personally and professionally. Best of all, we have respect for ourselves, which gives us a sense of value and importance that will affect everything we do for the rest of our lives.

True Stories Cant Be Copied

We love true stories, dont we? We cant help reading the juicy headlines while waiting in line at the store. We love to hear what Paul Harvey calls

the rest of the story. Television is filled with reality TV, where audiences tune in to see what really happens, live and unrehearsed. Biographies and autobiographies are best-sellers. We love true stories, especially when they relate experiences of uncompromised success, overcoming of obstacles, and beating the odds.

Everyone has a true story of his or her own. Our stories, which are our experiences, shape our values for life. And when you learn to put words to your unique story, you can use it and the values youve developed to define you in a way that no one can copy. When you build your brand identity on your true experiences, you will bring to the world the only thing that no one else can.

More than what you look like or what you do, or even the gifts and talents you possess, you have something that no one else can compete with or build success on. You have had experiences that no one else has had. To the extent that a brand must be unique and special to influence behavior, youve got it. Youve got a brand that will be as special and influential as Oprah or Steven Spielberg. Youve got a related corporate brand as promising as Harpo Productions and Dreamworks. Like them, you can build your brand on the true stories of your personal experiences that only you can share.

Too many brands start at the wrong end of the equation. They decide who or what they want to be and then set out to become just that. This is a book about building your brand by starting from the other end of that equation. In fact, at the outset, I ask you to consider that the end result of building your brand identity is the second thing you consider, not the first.

Take a moment and take the pressure off yourself. Trust in this process and you will discover who you are meant to become based on who has been uniquely created. Remember, only after you define who you are can you consider what you want to become. Start figuring out who you really are. When you know who you are you can figure out who you want to become. Youll know what youre made of and see what youre capable of. See. Believe. Go for it.

You have your very own individual brand identity. Whether you are 18 years old and leaving home, a middle manager seeking advancement, a retiree entering a new stage of your life, or somewhere in between, you are dependent on having a strong, powerful brand identity that gets you the right kind of attention for the right kind of results you have dreamed of.

If you are a Fortune 500 CEO and want to set yourself apart, be

more memorable, and build loyalty, you need a better kind of brand in order to compete. If you are at a turning point in your life and taking stock of your lifes ups and downs, you need to take control of your personal brand identity. In a world in which we wear other peoples brands as easily as pulling a sweatshirt over our heads, we forget that we have our own special, unique fingerprint that creates an identity to build and value.

Unlock Your Identity and Lock onto Your Brand

Inside all of us are things that should be uncovered, polished, and refined for the world to see. And these things should not just be seen but should be shown off in a way that tells the world we are valuable. These things are our essence. They are our treasures. Let me say right now that these things are the very things that we typically hide. We keep this stuff hidden or buried. We masquerade and pretend to be what we are not, because were afraid that if our real identity is discovered, no one will like us or we will fail. Worse yet, were afraid we wont like ourselves.

In 1960 a high school boy named Frank Abagnale ran away from home when his parents divorced. He vowed to reunite them by regaining what his dad had lost in business. With only $25 in his checking account he became an expert at pretending to be whoever he thought would live up to his dads expectations. Along the way he masqueraded as a pilot, a pediatrician, and an attorney. Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Leonardo DiCaprio captured this story in a 2002 blockbuster movie about a boy who wouldnt live his own life. It was called Catch Me If You Can. He, like many of us, lived a series of other peoples lives because he was afraid that his true self wasnt adequate.

Every day we read about people who have been pretending to be someone they are not. We find out that they have falsified their college records and created diplomas on their home graphic design computer programs. Prisons are full of people who have masqueraded as medical doctors or other professionals because assuming that illegal identity seemed less risky than being who they really were meant to be. They were afraid that no one would like them or give them as much attention if they built their future on just being themselves.

In 2003 a New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair, resigned in shame for faking stories and quotes and plagiarizing other publications to

make it appear that the stories were his. He wanted to be the reporter he thought he should be, and he copied and even fabricated stories to accomplish this goal.

It is risky to base our future or the future of our company on ourselves. If our plans dont meet our hopes and dreams, then we have no one else to hold responsible. But if we do develop and expand from our unique and rare characteristics, then we have the ultimate advantage in life. Weve got a monopoly on unique resources and the natural ability to influence and shape the world. No one has access to the experiences youve had like you do. The way you show the world your true story is the way your glory is revealed.

My husband and I recently saw the smash Broadway musical The Producers, with Tony award winners Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. While we sat in our expensive orchestra seats I was captivated by the story. In the musical, we meet a frightened and risk-adverse accountant named Leo Bloom (played by Broderick). Leo is afraid of everything. He needs to have the safety of a predictable life or, he believes, hell cease to exist.

One of his clients is a renowned but unscrupulous Broadway show producer named Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane). Max tries to get Leo to join him in a wily get-rich scheme. Leo is horrified and returns to his boring accounting office, where he realizes he is miserable in such an uninteresting and tedious routine. He sings a song we can all relate to, repeating the words, I wanna be ... He soon rushes back to Max and shouts, Ill do it. Ill join you in this scheme. I want to be a producer, too! This comes as a complete surprise to the audience, as well as to Max, who exclaims, Leo, theres more to you than there is to you!

What does that mean? It is simple. Despite what we all look like on the outside, there is more to us on the inside waiting to come out. When our whole self is summed up and brought into focus, we realize that There is more to me than there is to me. This means that what we are on the inside should be drawn out and be seen, heard, and felt. All that we are, deep inside, should surface in such a way that it is incorporated through our entire existence. I can say this because I believe that deep down inside we are all created good and pure and worthy of sharing. I agree with Stan Mitchell, minister and national speaker extraordinaire, who spoke and counseled us with these wise words: There exists the worst in the best of us and the best in the worst of us, and were better off not trying to figure out whos in

which group. 2 The whole of you is indeed greater than the value of all your individual parts. In the case of you, parts are not just parts.

Lest we have too much pride in ourselves, who we are now and who we become in the future is merely an inevitable extension of who we have always been. Whether we believe in God, a higher power, and evolution, we can acknowledge that we didnt start from nothing! We had nothing to do with our own original creation. We are each inherently unique from the outset because each of us is a one-and-only, genuine, original creation. There are no duplicates. Everything else on this earth can be copied and imitated, even cloned. You are the only one who has experienced your life and can share the values youve formed. There is only one you. Dont forget it.

You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

-Psalm 51:6 (New King James Version)

Branding Is All about Stories and Storytelling

As I just said, branding is all about stories and storytelling. Im sharing my story, which is the basis for my personal and professional brand, because I want to stir up your memories of your own life. As you read about how I grew up, how I got through school, and the various jobs I worked at, I want you to think about the same stages in your life.

As you read about some of the difficulties in my life and the wonderful times Ive had, I want you to think about similar events youve been through. Follow along and compare your experiences with mine. Think about your hopes and values as you read along. Because as you do, youll lay the foundation for developing your personal brand identity and improving the quality of your life.

Once upon a time a small girl grew up with many sisters and two loving parents. She became very successful in the eyes of the world, with professional position, status, and the associated power, money, prestige. A scientist, publisher, founder of one of Americas best childrens book companies, author, model, and television personality, with awards and acclaim, she had reached the top. Described by the media as a real live wonder woman, 3 Chris Hilicki had a great life and a great personal brand. Or so it seemed.

As with most people and organizations, what the world sees is

usually not the whole story. And the first lesson in building brands is that how we seem on the outside is often very different than who we are on the inside.

To a publisher, the word story is an important word. My story, like yours, has taken a lot of turns and twists. The plot has been complicated and it has gone from fairy tale to horror novel to action adventure. My story may not sound too different from yours, yet stories are all different, and that is what enables us all to build better, distinct, and authentic brands.

I share my story here as an example of how to use your story as the foundation of your brand that can never be copied. Follow along and think about your true story. Ask yourself as you read:

What were the life-changing events in my life?

What are some things in my life that occur over and over?

What are the most important values in my life, and where did they come from?

I was raised in a middle class family in the conservative midwestern United States. My father worked for Ford Motor Company and was considered to be a bit of a charming con artist out of New York City. Brilliant, hardworking, and likeable, he made things happen for himself and those he loved. My mother was a homemaker who raised three children, born right in a row. As a woman of the 1960s Mom volunteered for everything: the PTA, the book fair, and field trips. She was homeroom mother and Girl Scout Leader, and she drove the car pool. She did this all for no pay, no bonus plan, and no commission.

Where were you born and raised? Did your mother work inside or outside of the home? Did they call it work back then?

I remember going to the Childrens Day carnival every summer near my grandfathers Wisconsin home on Lake Winnebago. The best part of the carnival was the parade. At the parade, we all dressed up to march around in a circle, to the delight of cheering parents and grandparents. Back then, little boys arrived as firemen, astronauts, and football players. Little girls dressed up as ballerinas, fairy princesses, and nurses. I desperately wanted to be a fairy princess, too. But my mom had something special in mind for her three little girls. She wanted to pay respect to our grandparents, who were

known as the best gardeners around. So my mom dressed us up as a vegetable garden. I was a red beet. During the whole parade the little boy walking behind me pulled my red pointed beet hat down. I felt completely humiliated.

Did you dress up for carnivals, Halloween, or make-believe? What was the best costume you ever wore? Did you pick it out or did someone else? Why did you like it the most?

Maybe there werent life-shaping events at such an early age in your life, but I know those childrens carnivals molded my values and beliefs. My self-concept, my brand, began to take shape. And Ill never eat beets again.

After the parade, we played every game imaginable, from three-legged races to wheelbarrow runs. And the best part of the carnival was that we were all winners. No child went home without a prize. Every year, everyone won! I suppose I won a prize for being the best vegetable. Do you remember when life was so simple and innocent? Back then I thought that those were the best days of my life. And they probably were.

Did you ever win a prize for something? What for? How did it make you feel to get that attention?

When the games were over, I remember watching the beautiful ladies up on the stage hand out awards and prizes to the children while we sat down on the clubhouse floor, eating ice cream out of plastic Dixie cups with those rough little wooden spoons. Eventually it was my turn to walk up onstage and receive my ribbon. It was a life-changing moment for me. I remember thinking then, at a very young age, Im on the wrong side of that stage.

I wanted to be the pretty woman in charge, dressed in the stylish jogging suit (clearly never actually used for jogging). She wore little sparkly earrings and a smile. From where I sat on the floor, she looked impressive, strong, and confident in her role as carnival leader. And I knew then that I was on the wrong side of the stage. I began my quest to develop myself into what and who would be up in front, getting all the attention: confident, strong, and wearing sparkly little earrings.

Ive mentioned that I had lots of sisters. When girls grow up so close in age, as we did, it creates a very competitive environment. Im not talking about sibling rivalry-Im talking about fierce competition! We fought for and about everything. We competed for the last pork chop, the best bedroom, the latest bedtime, and eventually for each others boyfriends.

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