Branding has been important for many years with products.  Think about iconic brands like Coke, Apple, Nike, Rolls Royce and Gucci.  Today however, your personal brand is just as important in your career and personal life as the image is to those iconic brands.  So what is your personal brand?  Are you a Ferrari or a Yugo?  When people think of your name, of YOU as a person, what comes to mind? What do you want to come to mind? Having the right personal brand is extremely important for the achievement of your personal dreams, career objectives, and public perception.   So how do you develop a personal brand?  You must first understand that there are 5 basic human motivations.  

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  1. Belonging– We have a natural desire to be in connection with others. It can be a close connection with your spouse, family, and childhood friends. Think about Disney, what is their brand based on? Family. It can also be the desire to be apart of something bigger than yourself. Think of avid sports fans – Clemson football for example. When you are apart of a fan base, you are apart of something bigger than yourself – you are apart of a sports nation.  People want to belong to groups or organizations that they identify with, or that they believe are good however, they define that.
  2. Ideal persona– This goes to what your target market wants to have as a persona.  What image is your target audience trying to portray? How can your brand be a tool of self-expression or help them to portray that image? Think about Harley Davidson motorcycles.  Their target market wants to have the rugged, independent persona. Luxury brands are known to use this. When you pay thousands of dollars for a Rolex, are you trying buying a good watch, or are you buying the image that watch portrays?
  3. Self-Respect– Everyone wants to accomplish something. Everyone has goals and ambitions. The accomplishment of these goals creates an element of self-respect. What does your target audience want to accomplish, and how can you help them do it? Think of Home Depot, “You can do it, We can help.”
  4. Altruistic- We are charitable by nature. What causes is your target audience passionate about? The brand gives back in acts of selflessness which appeals to the target audience.
  5. Curiosity- This motivation is created by the gap between what we know and what we don’t know. Google made billions on this motivation. When there is something that we want to know what do you do, you Google it.

So when you think about these 5 human motivations, what is your target market’s motivation?  Is this motivation in line with your persona?  If you are in business for yourself, or have plans on being in business for yourself, say in HR consulting, you will want to target both the curiosity and probably the ideal persona motivations.  Specifically, you would want to have the same or expected persona of the potential client and target the client’s curiosity in you, the HR consultant, who has an expertise that the client needs.  If you are selling yourself as a potential employee, you would again want to project the persona that is in line with your target companies or industry and post items on your social media/LinkedIn that would appeal to potential employer’s self-respect motivation.  This would result in the potential employer being proud to have you due to your competency, experience and professional image.

Since most social media and any other information placed in cyberspace may be discovered, everyone should be mindful of what they post and how it will reflect on their personal brand.  Thank you for listening to Survive HR! 


Photo by Suliman Sallehi from Pexels

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Steve Nail is currently the Dean, College of Business, at Anderson University. He is a labor and employment attorney who began his career with the National Labor Relations Board. Thereafter, he served as Assistant General Counsel for Michelin, including two stints in France, where he worked on the structuring of the European Economic Community and served in the HR and Legal Departments. Later he served as the Vice President of Labor and Employee Relations before moving on to Hubbell where he served as the Vice President of Human Resources. Steve was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve on the SC Healthcare Planning Committee and was reappointed by Governor McMaster in 2018. Steve was named the 2012 South Carolina HR Professional of the Year and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, by the Greenville SHRM chapter. He is a frequent speaker, a published author, and mentor to many in the HR profession. He often coaches individuals and consults organizations on strategic matters. He is a Register Corporate Coach, certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.