“How do you build a personal brand?”
Cows are branded. Unhealthy drinks are branded. Toothpaste has four out of five dentists recommending it.
That fifth dentist ended up with a gag in his mouth, handcuffed to concrete at the bottom of the river. He had three kids. They miss him. If you see him call me.
Then the ultimate brand. The Master.
First there was the “I’d like to buy the world a coke” from the 80s. Oh my god. So beautiful. Watch it.
Then there’s the 20 year reunion. The same black, white, hispanic, Asian singers AND their children and grandchildren, on the mountaintop (Coke Jesus), singing about how Coke brought them together.
Ugh. Beautiful. Still brings tears to my eyes.
Then, see attached, the “Starry Eyed Surprise” Coke ad. I love it. I want to leave my world and be friends with them. There’s stars, there’s friends, there’s the beach, there’s Coke.
Coke has a brand. “Coke is it.” “Have a Coke and a Smile.”
And let’s not forget Mean Joe Greene and the t-shirt he throws to the kid. Again tears.
Coke is horrible for you. It started off as a fizzy brown drink with cocaine in it to relieve colds and make you “up”! Now it’s the most popular “soft” drink in the world. What does “soft” mean?
It’s probably worth 25 cents a can. But branding is the difference between reality and perception. If you believe the branding (“Will I really Smile?”) then you pay the $2.
Branding is the lying that bridges reality and cost.
Someone asked me “How does one build a personal brand?”
Easy answer: Personal branding means you are a liar.
You don’t have a personal brand. It’s not like “James is that guy who fails“.
That’s not me. That’s something I write about. I write about many other things that are valuable (I hope). And I even write about things that have no value.
Who cares? I’m me. You are you. We’re doing the best we can to be creative, innovative, to support our families, to live, to use these hands as best we can to make art, to have impact, to be kind.
- Be creative.
- Say something unique.
- Learn from everything around you so life becomes more interesting every day.
- Be a good and honest person.
- Be healthy so when you are sad, you can bounce back.
Red Pill… Personal value is love + persistence.
Blue Pill… Personal brand is reality + lying.
Be the little child who looked up to the stars when everyone else in the world doubted you.
James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Liza Summer.