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Personal Branding for Creative Professionals

Lesson 3 of 20

Telling the Branded Story

Dorie Clark

Personal Branding for Creative Professionals

Dorie Clark

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Lesson Info

3. Telling the Branded Story

Lesson Info

Telling the Branded Story

So just to touch on a couple other pieces of this there's some interesting research that actually just came out from a friend of mine ah woman in francesca gino who you know like me her book came out from harvard business review press she's a professor at harvard business school and she talked about about networking and uh you know, it's interesting because I think that many of her points in networking kind of tie in with personal branding and authenticity and things like that and what she discovered is that many people who who engage in you know, what she calls instrumental networking networking with sort of a professional focus they actually literally feel dirty afterwards I mean it's it's so it's so acculturated into us that it's like, oh, you know, I'm doing something wrong and you know, we're never we're never gonna be able to do it if we feel that way I mean, you don't like you're never going to do something if you feel like you're violating some kind of inherent moral code right...

? And so I really wantto wantto make sure and we're going to get into this over the next couple of couple of days and even momentarily that we're not in any way with personal branding asking you to do something that should make you feel weird or feel bad what this is about is about number one going into yourself and really looking clearly at who you are and the value khun bring do you know yourself and then number two how do you tell your story number three how do you connect that story with other people so that they feel it too? And if they share those values and sure there's ideas they say yes I want to work with you that seems great let's, you know let's do it that that's what personal branding is which I consider a really virtuous thing and so you know, we might think that it's about masks but it's not it's about authenticity and so I was mentioned earlier my colleague andy molinski this is one of the pieces we did for harvard business for you, how to adapt to american style, uh, self promotion and so there's a few strategies that we have that I wanted to just talk a little bit about because if you do feel discomfort, you know, whether you do come from a different culture or just a family culture say that says, you know what? I don't know about this, how do you do it? The probably the most important part the most important thing is what I call rebranding the act of branding because, you know, if if it seems sleazy, you're going to feel sleazy, you know, absolutely but the key thing here is to really understand that what what we're doing when we when we think about personal branding and come up with, you know, strategies and whatever it is about advancing a larger mission, you were you were doing it in service of something that really is important to you if you are a graphic designer, if you are a photographer, if you are a event planner, all of these things are things that you care about you love you want to share with the world, and so if you know and you can keep it in mind that one of the really necessary steps to do it is t make sure that people know about what you khun dio and that you could find like minded people that's, that's really powerful there's a guy uh, that I interviewed a right of forms block to named john hagel and one of the things that he said really struck me and stayed with me when I was interviewing him. He talked about the fact that when we when you know when we create content or when we somehow otherwise put ourselves out there, we take that leap and are brave enough to do it. It is like putting a beacon out into the world it's like we're a lighthouse and we're saying ok, here's my thing and allowing other like minded people to find us if you want to build a community you care about something and want to attract the right kind of people to you that the people you really want to work with you really want to help this is how to do it there's there's power in that the number two thing that I wanted to mention understanding the zone of appropriateness this is kind of funny concept but basically what what andy has found in the research that he's done is that sometimes when people I feel uncomfortable with personal branding but then they finally they like resigned themselves right like oh, I guess I have to do it ok, I'll suck it up and so they decided to do it and then they like overcompensate they say oh, well I guess I have to be you know, mr self, you know, self promotion now and they go way too far to the other side and then everyone's like what are you doing? And it seems very bizarre and that doesn't work either and then of course they get discouraged because they say well tried personal branding and you know, clearly that failed so so we don't we don't want to swing from one pendulum to the other, you've got a you've got to get a realistic perspective about okay, what do you really need to do because you don't need to be the person who in every cocktail party says, you know, let me tell you about my work so you don't need to do that how do you do it? Andy actually suggest finding a personal branding mentor and you know we'll talk later about the idea of mentorship but I want to really specifically raised here just so we can start thinking about it and you know, maybe you guys at home can start thinking about people in your own lives that this might apply teo so you know, the idea is that hopefully you guys have friends you know or possibly you know, maybe it's not even someone you know personally but maybe it's somebody who's blogged that you read or you know, you subscribe to their videos on youtuber or whatever where you respect their approach you think I really like what she's doing that's pretty cool and you say, well, how can I learn from this person and really try to think deliberately about okay? You know, what exactly are they doing? How much are they saying and in what way? And is there a way that I could model that in my own life? It's you know, of course particularly easier if you if they're in your life and they you know they can kind of coach you a little bit, but even if you don't know them personally, you confined ways teo to connect and teo interrogate yourself to ask those questions and fourth and finally here's here's a big one right it's really simple of how personal braden get's almost so basic but this is a place where it's so easy to make a change if you do one change as a result of this today I say this to you people at home as well all right one change one thing you can do to get value out of this here it is I go to so many cocktail party so many networking events and you go up to people and I mean we all know right what the questions are oh what do you do what do you been up to lately these air literally the questions that everyone asks every time it's not like it's a surprise and nonetheless you're at these things and people seem absolutely dumbfounded they have no you see what you've been up to lately oh nothing much what you been up to oh same old same old you know they have these ridiculous answers and so if you want to make one simple change every time you go to an event like that just have one thing in your head and hopefully the thing that you mentioned to talkabout should have a few different criteria right one is it hopefully it's interesting enough that it can spark a conversation with the other person so that they would want to say oh that's cool tell me more or possibly they can relate you know their own story about it but number two if you're if you're able to do this, whatever thing you mentioned could help spread your brand not in, you know, a sort of weird over way, but just in a way that it's helping to advance the narrative of who you are in the types of things that you d'oh so if you know if barbara was going to aa cocktail party or a networking event and somebody said, so, you know what? What are you up to lately? And, you know, barbara could say something like, oh, you know, I'm really excited because I'm working on this project, I just got a new client and so I'm working on a project where I'm doing actualize e for them and I'm really pumped and at a very basic level that's pretty cool because she's sharing something she's genuinely excited about but it also is implanting the idea in the other person oh, that's the kind of thing that barbara does, I thought she made crepes, so wow, okay, cool. And so when the you know where they need a graphic designer it's like, oh, I can call you now so we need to have at least, you know, some kind of a good answer, you know, maybe it's that there's, you know, some kind of ah travel component or whatever I mean you know, tomorrow could say oh, you know, it's amazing. I just got this commission to go to fly tow to kentucky teo to go photograph, you know, this racehorse and this is amazing and, you know, so someone could hear that and say, oh, I thought you just photographed horses locally. I didn't know you went places to do that that's amazing. You know, my cousin in kentucky has a horse. I should connect you guys you want to give people hooks so that they can understand so that they can have a good thing to talk with you about, but so that they can understand more about what you d'oh eso really simple, but it can be a powerful technique. So I wanted to tell you guys a few stories right about people who have done is how does this actually play out? Because, you know, we could be talking all day about personal branding, but I find that it's it's more interesting to actually hear some case studies about this. So you're gonna love this lady this's, a story about a woman named lisa granik huai profile in my book reinventing you and lisa actually, you can see here she's hanging out in a vineyard, she's having fun clearly, and this is pretty cool because she was not always having fun lisa had another idea I guess early on in her life about what she wanted her career to be she had a very really impressive background she went to yale law school it was getting after she finished her jd she's getting her doctorate in the study of law she want to be a legal scholar and so she got a fulbright she went to russia and and she became a specialist she was writing a dissertation this is an appropriately arcane dissertation it was about sexual harassment laws in the former soviet union so she was ready to go with her with her prestigious and esoteric legal scholar career there was on ly one problem, which is that as she neared completion of her doctorate she began to realize this was not what she wanted she saw people who had graduated a year or two before her they were miserable she she had this painful, frightening realization that weight she'd made a mistake she made a mistake with ten years of her life. What do you d'oh because she didn't have a lot of, you know skills quote unquote should be in school for ten years it's not like you know you could really transfer it so read readily so it seemed she could be a lawyer didn't really want to be a lawyer should be a legal professor she really didn't want to do that what do you do so lisa finish her doctor she said okay, you know I'm going to do it she went through, she got it done and then she took a little time to begin to really think about what she was passionate about what does she want to dio and she thought about it and the one thing that she kept coming back to was that she loved wine maybe you can relate on dh so that there is a challenge though, which is that aside from really loving to drink wine at least he didn't know anything about wine just, you know, starting from ground zero and so for a lot of people they would they would just say, well, ok, this is clearly impractical, right? I can't you know, transfer into this field that I literally know nothing about but lisa doug below the surface she's clearly a talented person and she said, you know what? The things on my resume do not define me I am not what I did before I have far more potential than other people might see just by looking at the line items and so she began to think, well, what? You know, what do I really have to offer? What are my hidden talents? And so it turns out that in order to be a legal scholar you and you know get get this doctorate you have to study languages in orderto be ableto read things in the primary sources and so over the course of the ten years lisa had learned to speak french, spanish, russian and a little bit of italian it also turned out that interestingly enough, most american wine experts you know sadly like me not that I'm a wine expert but I am an american on lee speak one language and so she realised very quickly it could be a tremendous competitive advantage for her to be multi lingual because she could communicate with wine growers in their own language and so she was able to leverage that and the fact that while she was studying to be a lawyer you have to practice your speaking skills right? You have to be good at orel argumentation persuasion all these things that's another thing that if you're in the wine business fundamentally you know this is kind of like being an entrepreneur of any stripe, right? It's it's kind of about sales you're not going to get anywhere no matter how much you love wine no matter how good your wine is if no one knows about it and you know they they aren't persuaded to buy it there has to be an element of of persuasion involved and so she was good at that and she said, you know what, I'm going to run with us and she said that when she went out and started meeting with people you know, I asked her, like, did you face a lot of blowback that people say, well, you know, why are you doing this or how are you qualified? And she said, no, she said people really respected it that I was willing to start at the bottom and, you know, to make a choice that, you know, that they felt like was was pretty bold, and I think that that's something that ah lot of us don't realize, I mean, we might think, you know, we're not going to get any support or people won't get it, but lisa said, no people people really said, I like what you're doing, and so she went and she she pursued it. She actually really did have to start from ground zero. She hears a woman with a doctorate, she had to go back and in order to get a master of wine, you know, this is one of the industry's, you know, highest designations for being a wine expert. You actually you have to take courses again, you have to write a dissertation about wine. She did it again, started in the bottom and she made it happen, and today she actually has a dream career where she works with foreign vintners, helping them break into the american market. But you know, so for all of us, I think the lesson there is that we have to we have to peel back the layers we have to be willing to say. You know what? I am not defined by my past. If I have a vision for what I want to do, I could be resourceful. I can find a way to do it with my talents and it's just recognizing that we have maurin us than maybe other people might think or what our resume says. So another person who did you know something in some ways very different, but in some ways very similar is this gentleman here he's uh, he's a friend. His name is craig della penna. And I got to know craig actually, because one of my career reinventions I mentioned that I ran a non profit. So the nonprofit that iran was called the massachusetts bicycle coalition we're the statewide bicycling advocacy group in massachusetts, which was pretty awesome. And I got to know craig because at the time, he was on expert in rail trail conversion. So you guys are probably familiar with rail trails that's where they take the abandoned railroad lines, and then they turn them into bike paths or walking paths. And so craig was an advocate working for a nonprofit in specializing in that pretty cool right he was you know, literally is the expert in new england rail trails and he written b don't like four books about love you know, very impressive and so that is fantastic when you're the expert in your field is a great position to be in except at a certain point craig got a call from his nonprofit and it turned out that they were closing his regional field office and they said craig, you can either move to philadelphia or you're out of a job and he didn't want to move you know, multiple states over he said well okay get him out of a job but the problem here and maybe this is something that some of you guys have faced in the past is that it's not like he was an accountant or a marketer or salesman you know, those are things that you can imagine our pretty transferrable right? I mean, you can sell you know, medical products you know didn't okay, well if you can't do that, maybe you could sell you know, wholesale whatever's if you're an account and you can probably crunch numbers for one company as well as you can for another craig had a specialty it was pretty unique who could possibly make use of the world's expert in new england rail trail conversions and you know, for a lot of people you think they just stopped there and say, well, you know what I had my dream and I guess it didn't work out so I'm just going to do something else and what I love about craig what I respect about him is that he did not say that craig passionately believed in rail trails and he found a way teo commit to make his way out of new away and here is how he did it he he's so first of all he and his wife they always had a dream right they wanted to open a bed and breakfast and so they say well you know what? What if we bought a house right next to a rail trail and then we can make a bed and breakfast there's rail trail themed and so it it it is in florence, massachusetts it's called the sugar maple trailside in I've been there it's very nice you might like it and craig created this and it turns out he had so many friends and colleagues and contacts in the rail trail enthusiast a world that his his ben breakfast from day one was booked because everybody wanted to come visit him and visit his new bed and breakfast and you know he had he had bikes that were loners and people could go they get right on the rail trail so he made it a real trail vacation spot so that was one way that he was able to make a living off of his passion and his network and still support doing the things that he loved about about it but number two it gets better he discovered that a lot of the people who are visiting his his you know, rail trail bed and breakfast you know they loved it right? They were really felt craig this is fantastic. I wish I could live near a rail trail this is so cool and for some of them they would actually literally it wasn't just you know random thought they would go visit realtors in town and they wanted they wanted to buy houses near rail trails and creaks and wait a minute I could do something with this and so he got his real estate license and he began to specialize in the sale of homes near rail trails and so when I interviewed craig he actually was making far more money than he ever had as a professional nonprofit advocate and he said dori I have even more time now to spend doing advocacy work he uses his money from the bed and breakfast and from his real estate business essentially to help underwrite the time that he spends going to hearings and going to meetings and being an advocate so sometimes you know, just just a zay got laid off as a reporter you know it's so guess that dream is gone but you know what? The dream doesn't have to be gone today you know, I blogged for forbes for harvard business review for entrepreneur for a bunch of other publications I actually spent probably more time writing now than I did when I was a reporter I still get to interview people and write and do things that I love, but I've found a way to do it even though the economy changed even though the framework changed you paid a little bit for my writing, but I make my living in other ways that the writing makes possible through speaking through consulting through doing workshops like these and similarly, craig was able to think outside the box and say, I'm not going to give up on the dream of being a rail trail advocate and, you know, helping to fight for these things that I'm passionate about I will find another way and I think that's that's the core of personal branding is really you know what is your north star? What is the thing that you care about and, you know want teo teo to really go for in the world and helping over time you find a way to think about it and if you're blocked in certain ways from pursuing it to find another way because there's so many things that are possible and you just have to tow peel back the expectations to not be limited by your past, to not be limited by your resume and to say where else can I go because you do have mohr more skills more abilities mohr more ways of doing things than you could possibly imagine. So another person that I think is really useful to maybe bring into the discussion as we think about personal branding is this woman she she's somebody that I got to know a few years ago you may know her because in fact she's she's even been eh cover girl on fast company magazine which you know we heard about earlier because that was in nineteen ninety seven what kicked off the personal branding terminology but her name is dina boyd and she was really interesting she came out with a book earlier this year called it's complicated which is hence a great title it's a study of teachers and how they use the internet and she's a researcher at microsoft and for years she's studied you know how teenagers engage online and where this comes from. I mean now you can see she's in her thirties but where this comes from is a personal passion of hers because when she was a teenager she was using the internet and she was, you know, basically an early adopter you know, if you are in the sort of early to mid nineteen nineties and you're doing a lot of stuff online that's that's kind of unusual it's kind of different, you know, I know I didn't get internet until my junior year of college and so it took a while for it's a sort of penetrate and you know, at first when I when I got it I was like, well what do we do with this? Like I would just go weeks without checking in and you know, you have toe you know kind of kind of gear into it but she was an early adopter and so like a lot of teenagers write like your teacher what do you want to do online? Okay, you wantto s o back in the day you remember blood before blogging became blogging, it was known as live journaling and uh so so this is her name is dana boy dana would live journal and she would live journal about the things that teenagers like to live journal that she would talk about her love life she would talk about band you know, all these things and so as she got older and it was very important for her, you know, she made friends sort of this big source of her identity as she got older. A lot of people said to her, you know what? You should probably think about taking these old things down online, you know, were talking earlier about like, you know, your online reputation right is the stuff it's coming up the stuff that you want and you know, it's a different of course it's different right if it's the old things that you've written versus things that you know crazy things that people say about you were things that are wrong or non factual or whatever you know sometimes it's important to take down things that you've written but you know, we do want to draw a distinction between that but so dina had a different philosophy a lot of people the world would probably say you know what? It's a little off message here dana you should probably, you know, take take this old stuff down we don't necessarily you know, if you're if you're a doctoral student, you know, at berkeley if you're if you then become a microsoft researcher if you now teach it, you know, our fellow at gnu you don't necessarily need to hear about how much you love ani difranco, right? And uh and she said no she says I refuse to be embarrassed about my past, which I think is very powerful if you are creating things. I mean, I hear from people all the time, you know, I lecture business schools and I get these mba students, you know, they're in their mid twenties maybe late twenties and a lot of them will say, you know, so dorie you're talking about like, creating content and putting things out in the internet and I'm not sure that I should do that because I don't really know you know what my brand is I'm still figuring it out and so maybe I just shouldn't put anything out until I know what my brand is and I actually pushed back a little bit and I say you know what odds are whatever brand you're going tohave it's you know if you're going to make a tweak I mean you know, hopefully I hope to god that you're twenty seven years old you kind of have a good personality you know? You sort of know what you like and so it's possible that you may end up tweaking it a little bit but probably it's not going to be one hundred eighty degrees different, right? And so sometimes you only learn by doing sometimes it is through the process of writing and creating and talking about things that you learn who you are and what you care about and, you know, putting that out there and so what I respect about dana voids approach if you said you know what if people see something you know, that I wrote when I was like nineteen years old and they think it's weird or whatever if they were going to judge me on that rather than on the totality of the work that I've done and the totality of the person that I've become fine whatever we sometimes the art of having a strong personal brand is being comfortable recognizing that we can't control everything we can't control everybody's reaction to every single thing we d'oh we're not you know, professional image managers like somebody trying to sculpt a presidential campaign even I know from experience on a presidential campaign you can't control every facet, every nuance, every word you have to get comfortable with the fact that some people yeah, some people are going to read something and they're going to see that stupid you know what? It's okay, because if you put enough of yourself out there if you if that's literally the only thing that they see about you then yeah, maybe there you know, maybe a lot of people are going to have that judgment, but if you continue to give if you continue to put yourself out there in a variety of ways, whether it's sharing things online are being active in your community, getting involved in groups, people are gonna have so many different exposures to you that one little thing is not going to change how they view you. We need to choose not to be embarrassed and just say I am not going to hold myself back I'm not going to hide myself out of fear that one thing is going to ruin everything and trip everything up you gotta you gotta make the decision and be willing to do it dori we actually do have a comment lin says I've had a failed business venture with a custom cake shop I had to claim claim bankruptcy and many of my clients lost their deposits I've been afraid to start any new ventures because I'm scared of how past clients may perceive me and my reputation I would like to know more about how to change my own perception of the situation as well as rebuilding my reputation how does what you just spoke about tie into that that challenge absolutely it's really it's really important I think that that fundamentally and we'll talk about this more later a swell but I'll say now that one of the most important things we can dio is toe own our past you know if you if you try to run away from it it's you know people are going to say wait a minute that's that's fake and you know you know here you are trying to start this new business but I know the truth about your last venture and you know let me tell everyone the truth about it because it looks like you you don't get it and so I think that some of the some of the most important reinvention stories we talk about personal branding you know we all we all have troubles we all have things that we've come from and you know what gets people is if they sense that there's hypocrisy or they sense that you are somehow not comprehending, you know, the gravity of what has gone wrong in the past they're going to want to puncture the new thing because you know, is a culture we want, you know, we want people to get their lessons that's why one of the things you know when I worked in politics, you always say, is that the first thing? If you've done something wrong, you need to apologize quickly because if you know first it's the right thing to do but second people will dog you forever until you apologize, you know, you just you have to just say, you know what? I got it, I made a mistake and so that's the first thing is really being willing tto own that I mean, the second thing of course, which I'm sure she's working on is it if there are outstanding debts and things like that, you know it's it's important, you know, even if it's like literally like the five dollars a month plan or something finding ways t pay that back so that that has been righted but you know, once the financial piece is taking care of because you know otherwise if that's not that it's quite easy to imagine that the people might want to come after a new business just in terms of money but once the financial piece has been righted, there's there is the branding piece, and I think that's the place where, you know, you really need hopefully to reach out to those people specifically directly and say, you know, and talk about, you know, number one, regret, you know, and understanding what you've done, and then number two, explaining very carefully how you have learned from that lesson and are applying it in the future. I think that most people are forgiving most people want to give you a chance if they really I hear that you've learned and grown from it, and if you can convince them of that, that can be really powerful. I mean, I actually, you know, I'm on a mailing list now. Fortunately, I didn't I didn't have teo to deal with this. I was just on the mailing list, but I had a friend who was affected by this. There was a custom tailor shop that opened, and my friend actually was getting her wedding outfit made from them, and they said they screwed up, they really screwed up, and they weren't able to fulfill it in time and, you know, that's kind of a big deal when it comes to weddings, and so a lot of people were, you know, pretty upset about that. And, you know, that's that's the kind of thing that lingers in your mind, you know, like you messed up my wedding you're going down on and so you know, but you but you also there's empathy, right? Because it's like all these people, they're they're new entrepreneurs, you you know, you want to support them, you want to like them, and so, you know, they've been sending out messages, and I think in various ways have been trying to make it right, so it can be difficult. But if you if you show on acknowledgement and goodwill and you know, if you show that you're willing to own up to your mistakes and to try to make it right and to try to learn from the moving forward that's that's really, all people can ask I mean, there may be people that are just kind of bitter and hold a grudge forever, but most people will be willing to say, you know what? That's okay, I've you know, I've been there, I get it so wei have another question, but I'm not sure dari whether you will be addressing this lighter it's sort of tonight's with may, so I want to put it out there man might have a segment that it comes, teo, its design a solution and design a solution is saying in terms of personal branding and putting it out there at networking events and things that gender comes into it many women were taught not to be aggressive because it's unfeminine and that holds over in the u s also holds over australia in my industries and and she's saying the two things how do you get out of that how should she get over that because you know bugger that and then also how do you get over the perception of others because sometimes if you working like I'm in the auto industry sometimes it's hard core you know that perception of you so you can come across as aggressive which is fine in my book but probably not for the people of my employees you addressed that particular jenna thing later or now yeah well I mean we'll talk about it a little bit more later but I'd love to talk about it now because it is it is a big deal absolutely you know, much much life were talking earlier about cultural issues and personal branding gender issues that's you know that's another big one right and so I think that you know a couple of thoughts that I have about this number one you know, fortunately this this has been entering the discourse a little bit more lately I give a lot of credit to cheryl sandburg you know her book lean in really tackle this head on she's got now the the band bossy campaign where she wants to try toe stop people or at least make them more cognizant that when they use the term bossy that it's often a little bit loaded that that sometimes they apply it to women in a way that they don't apply it to men and I think it's it is useful teo teo at least be aware of that and be aware of those overtones so that culturally hopefully people are more willing teo you know when they hear things like that you know just think twice and say oh wait a minute there maybe you know there may be a little bit of subconscious bias and work here but I think that you know another really crucial piece that we will be talking about throughout the course of this programme is the fact that when we think personal branding I think this sort of archetypal image that comes up in people's minds oh personal branding I know that is when you were at an event and you tell people about how great you are that's what it looks like that is like the embodiment of personal branding and that you know and like get it no no it's not of course you know you probably will look a little bit aggressive and look a little bit bossy if you know you're up with someone and they say you know, so you know what what do you do well as it happens I'm the greatest automotive designer in america you know it's like okay that's that's probably not how we want to play this so what I would like to really get across is that personal branding can be done in literally a million ways so that like literally the let's put it this way they can't pin it on you all right so personal brandy how do you do it one way to do personal branding is blogging right if somebody googles you on dh they you know they see oh wow she's written all these amazing articles about automotive design that's really incredible clearly you it would be a real stretch for someone to be like oh she's so aggressive she blog's too much you know it you know but but yet that is a way of establishing your brand in the marketplace another way of establishing your brand in the marketplace is by taking on leadership roles in organizations let's say you are you know you become first the secretary and then the vice president and then the president of the san francisco bay automotive design association so you do that and that too you know again someone would have to be fairly pathological to be like oh you know that's that's such a bossy thing to dio teo work your way up in that organization but nonetheless when people think of you and they say oh she's the leader of that group she must be an expert she must be an authority that's that's a way of having a strong personal brand so it's not necessarily about like you know how you're coming off you know, in in the sort of one on one things I mean I actually discourage people from being too self aggrandizing in interpersonal relationships it's more personal branding is more about setting the strategy in your own mind knowing yourself setting the strategy and then you know, acting in general all throughout your life in ways that demonstrate that expertise so hopefully that might allay some of the concerns yeah. Thank you. Thanks for jumping in appreciate that. Yeah. So okay, so this is, like slightly facetious right? Because, uh he's john mccain he's you know he's awesome guy but not not exactly my political homey uh but uh but john mccain I want I want you to think back okay, this this may not work so well for you tomorrow because you are not here in two thousand but for those of you who were around and in america in during the two thousand presidential election I want you to picture john mccain of two thousand not john mccain of two thousand eight okay, so in two thousand there was a different john mccain who is running for president john mccain you will remember at the time he was not the republican standard bearer that was george w bush. John mccain was the insurgent maverick candidate. He was actually running as a centrist then, and was was doing some really interesting things. And for me, interestingly enough, she probably freak out if she heard me say this. Dana void her her strategy, so to speak, in terms of personal branding, her view on it and john mccain's are actually very similar, and I will tell you what I mean by that. So, john mccain, when you are the insurgent, when you are the scrappy competitors who has less money, who eyes not the favored candidate, you have to do things differently in the front runner, right? You have to kind of have a different approach. And so george w bush during that campaign, he was really worried about the press, you know, perhaps with some justification, because when you know, but it became a vicious circle, right? Because george w bush kept the press at bay, he wouldn't talk to them. And so whenever he did, it was like this big, special thing. You talk to them for fifteen minutes a day, and if he said something crazy, then then the press would just jump on it and be like, oh, you know, here he made this mistake, but john mccain realized that if he did that he would never get anywhere because he was the underfunded scrappy candidate he said you know I have to have a totally different strategy for this and so what he did was he he had this bus he called it the straight talk express and he vowed you know as it was it was the branding of it and it was the practice he vowed that on the straight talk express he would he would sit with reporters like for hours and he would talk with them about anything just shoot the bring use it was unprecedented access and as a result of that the press he was covering george w bush and also al gore who had the same kind of, you know, a velvet rope kind of thing like oh, you can't talk to me except at certain times those pressed folks were pretty hostile to the candidates the press loved john mccain that he actually joked that the press were his base because he didn't have enough voters supporting him but the press was supporting him and it's so what was really amazing was that the same you know the same mistake if george w bush had given a talk and he said oh six hundred million dollars but he meant billion that would've been a front page story about how he made this terrible mistake and he was an idiot if john mccain made that mistake, it wouldn't be a story and it's not because the press you know was in bed with him or whatever it was because the more someone knows you the more context someone has the more forgiving they are of any mistakes this kind of goes back to the idea about crisis management in about you know, online reputation and things like that there is a power in sharing yourself there is a power in making sure that people know you because if you get that message out there I mean number one is we're talking about earlier you attract like minded people to you but number two if there's ever a situation where you say something wrong you make a mistake you screw up you don't get someone's wedding dress done in time, you know, whatever it is they're going to be more willing to say you know what? I get it I understand the context and I forgive you and we can move forward but if it is the on ly piece of information they have that's all they have to judge you on if it's not good they're going to write you off and so sharing and being willing to be transparent it is pretty powerful so I hear sometimes from people about you know well, you know, it isn't just about, you know, kind of a bakery, right? You know and you know, we were going to ask we had that that image of the mask the carefully constructed mask and so just one distinction that I want to draw for you guys is that probably I'm guessing most of you if you have ever had a job interview, you probably dress up for the job interview, right? This is pretty standard you don't want to go in and, like, you know, your your ripped jeans and your sweatshirt you probably wear like a suit or under a skirt or something, you know, toe look good and most people would not say, oh, that's so fake you're you know you're being inauthentic and I think similarly, you know, here's the distinction. So mark zuckerberg right? He gets it, he used to get a lot of flack he's getting a little better now I think cheryl sandberg's, you know, whipping him into shape, but, you know, he would do things like go meet with investment bankers in his hoody and sandals and yes, that was very authentic. Good job, mark zuckerberg, you're being yourself, but the problem is that in the context it was a little disrespectful, right? Because the reason you dress up is that you were signaling to people, you know what? I want to be my best self for you I want to show you the respect of dressing nicely to show you that I take this seriously and so if you're mark zuckerberg and you're looking, you're meeting with these investment bankers about you know, some of the most important like billion dollar deals and he's like you know what? Take it or leave it you could have me and my hoody you're nothing it shows a kind of distress act and so with personal branding I think some some people if you know if they're trying to like push a rhetorical argument they say well, you know I mean I should if it's about being authentic shouldn't I just be ableto you know where the sweatshirt you know literally and metaphorically I mean, you know, so I like to swear a lot should they just swear a lot all the time and it's like no it's not that's, not quite what we're after here what we're after is you don't want to be somebody else you don't want to be like the frankenstein monster that's totally not like you but I think that it is legitimate to to want to be your best self you know it's it's e I think asked an aspirational vision is actually okay and I I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine that I profile and reinventing you she is an executive coach and she's done it for twenty years very successful executive coach but when she first started she told me the story about the early days and she said that uh that literally for two years after she started her business, she didn't send out like a blast e mail or any kind of message to her friends letting them know she had started her coaching business because she was so afraid of what they would say she was twenty seven years old when she started it and she was so afraid that people she knew would say, what are you doing? Why are you qualified to do that? And so for two years she didn't and she said that it was on ly when she talked with a friend of hers who was a doctor, that she was able to get comfortable with this because the doctor said, you know what? The same thing happened to me because there's this moment right where you go from being a medical student and like your student, you don't really know anything and then all of a sudden you cross the threshold, you get your diploma, people call you doctor and they expect you to know what you're doing and in that thirty second period it's not like something magic happens you're the same person, but you need to learn to bear yourself with more authority need to learn how that works out to convey that to other people and that could be a real challenge I mean, the first the first mission for us is to get comfortable with our own identity if we're starting a business say you're venturing into a new area and when we brand ourselves that can be tough because we have to somehow show people that we're confident oh yes you should hire me I you know yes, I can totally photograph your horses and but meanwhile if you just started it's like well you know, I think I can get a good shot I don't really know so it's like this tough moment how do you know how do you do it? So yeah do you have a thought about that comment yeah, I actually have a question because I kind of have a problem off um I would I don't know how to really explain that I just tell the story okay do it so I did this huge event likes sport event and a lot of my friends weren't there and they were competing and it took their pictures and I, um they knew I'm uptight for the human official photographer there and I'm taking their pictures yeah and even send them links to those pictures and they came back to me and they were like, well, well really liked the pictures and after that there's this awkward woman and like yeah would you like to buy? And I didn't really say that I felt so uncomfortable yeah and I know that I probably missed out on the sale but I would really what you're coming on the right is how to let them know that you're selling without actually like being too obnoxious about right exactly totally so that's a really important question because he can get a little weird with friends because I mean if it's someone that you don't know like clearly you're not going to just give them stuff for free you know they come in knowing they have to buy it for friends it's a little like is it a favour? Is it not a favour? So what I would say in the future for a situation like that is wherever possible I would try to make it clear up front so you know that that's your heads off a lot of problems so you could sort of say at the beginning like by the way guys, I'm gonna be there in a professional capacity and so I'll be taking, you know, pictures of everybody and so if you're interested in buying photos, you know there's a link or you can do it afterwards so that way it's just like no questions it's like straight out and there's not a weirdness in the situation that you're in now, you know, if you sort of find yourself post facto like, oh wait, I think it should be free and I don't know what I would say is depending you know, depending on your level of closeness, you could like you could take a temporary loss in order to sort of seed it for the future so you could for instance say you know if you oh you know if you really like this picture I'm happy to give you this one for free and then in the future if you'd like to buy more of the print or if you'd like me to take photos of you and other events I'll have those for sale so that way it's like oh you've done them a nice thing this time but it's really clear moving forward that you're doing it you know as a business does that make sense yeah cool and actually yeah so you hear sometimes the thought right? You know this is sort of bromide fake it until you make it and you know that's pretty good, right? You know that's that's okay fake it till you make it but some people really get hung up on like that well, that's fake and so I think there's a much better formulation that a woman named amy cuddy a harvard business school professor talked about she's a famous ted talk and she uses the formulation fake it until you become it and if you just sit with that for a minute I think that's really kind of powerful because it is about your best self it's not oh I want to pretend to be this thing that I'm totally not it's about how do I get the vision of myself in the future of where I really want to be? And then how do I get myself toward that? So that that becomes my reality? There's a woman are sorry. There's a there's. A man named warren bennis, who is a well known leadership thinker for many years, was a professor at usc martial school of business. And he told the story in his autobiography, a boat uh, something really simple he's an older gentleman now he was in world war two and he said that the moment, you know, he goes into the war, you know, and and use really young, just like a teenager and, you know, scared you have no idea what to dio but he said that the moment that he put on the uniform, he became a different person because he realized that if he was going to be commanding men in the army, he had to be different. He had to act different. He had to become something better than he wass in order to be able to do well and to serve his country. And that even just putting on the uniform created this powerful change in himself, so that at the end he really was that and so similarly, I think for all of us it's it's not fake it till you make it. It is fake it until you become it. You can get that vision of your best self and then keep working toward making that who we are every day.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Positioning is a fundamental business practice that individuals looking to advance their own careers can apply to themselves and their small business. Learn how to position yourself in this introductory course to the must-have personal branding skills for all creative professionals.

This course will teach you the skills you need to build an online and offline brand, presence, and portfolio. You’ll learn exactly how to make a rock solid first impression and how to craft and convey the message you want others to hear about your style and your work. Dorie Clark will teach you how to make the most of interviews, introductions, webinars, and more. You’ll create strategies for connecting with the right people at the right time and learn how to use those connections to nurture and grow your brand.

The success of your creative endeavors depends on how well the world understands your professional vision and what you do best. With these core branding skills you’ll level up your prospects and your business.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dorie Clark - Personal Branding Workbook

Dorie Clark - Syllabus

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user Snaphappy

I took advantage of the free on-air broadcast. It was a marathon day jam-packed full of things that are rarely, if ever, included in branding discussions including business etiquette ( how to navigate awkward and uncomfortable situations) developing discernment regarding on your clients and associates, developing crucial relationships for clients, collaborators, mentors and sponsors, finding the appropriate social media channels for your business(es), and real-life examples from audience participation. Credit Dorie for my "aha" moment where it all came together resulting in focus and a clear idea of what my business is, my brand and a strategic plan I began implementing within hours after viewing the broadcast. This course is an absolute must for any creative with a business idea, a new business or an established business who wants to keep up with current business trends taught by a witty, intelligent, engaging, insightful, and inspiring instructor and equally informative guest speakers and who doesn't want to reinvent the wheel or spend a fortune going down rabbit holes. A very big shout out to Dorie and Creative Live - my creative go-to "peeps"!

Washeelah Youshreen Choomka

I came across Dorie Clark's work three days ago. I bought three of her online courses. I started with this course and I feel so grateful to her. She has done an amazing work and the course is awesome. I have been in politics before as a woman from a small island in the Indian Ocean and I wish I had done this course that time. The content is properly structured and Dorie's delivery is perfect! Thank you!


Dorie is awesome. If a teacher can get me fully engaged while I'm taking a class from home, they are a great teacher! After taking this class, I felt inspired about my future. I learned new things and was affirmed on some existing knowledge which is also a good feeling. I would definitely take another class from her and feel this is an important class to revisit.