Megan Fitzgerald is a "personal branding coach" and ever since I met her last year I have been wondering what exactly that might mean. In the name of curiosity and friendship, I overcame my acquired European-style aversion to "americanate" and excessive American optimism, and signed up for a presentation in Rome by Personal Branding Guru, William Arruda.
The room was full -- Megan had done a fantastic job of organizing and promoting the event -- and 1.5 hours of power point later, I got it.
Personal Branding is about the "unique promise of value" that we each must "extract", then "express" and finally "exude". At the end of the "1-2-3 Success! Personal Branding Process," you find a personal form of success that comes from your "unique promise of value." I must admit that my thoughts wandered to the NPR reported study on why "Americans Fail Self-assessment" as I wondered if Americans also easily fail at identifying personal uniqueness. In any case, it was all very interesting and inspiring. (Megan, me, William Arruda)
Putting down William's book, Career Distinction, on Saturday afternoon and turning to the newspaper, I found an article by my favorite Italian journalist,Vittorio Zucconi, on Al Gore's ride to his Nobel Peace Prize -- a study in personal branding! Following his trials and tribulations, Al dug deep down and found that his vocation/values/passions all revolved around enviromentalism, and he was reborn, as himself, with a "unique promise of value" that carried him all the way to the prize of all prizes.
Vittorio Zucconi calls Al Gore's trip, "The American parabola of second and third chances to reinvent and redeem oneself after falling off and being humiliated -- one of the most admirable and vital of American cultural characteristics." The parabola gets its initial force from optimism and self-confidence, belief in both the future and in our "unique promise of value". Although adding a bit of Italian"c..o" never hurts!
PS -- and why do you read my blog? What is my "unique promise of value" that brings you back? Just curious. One of the steps is finding out what other people think of you, which is, in fact, what "branding" is all about anyway.