A personal brand is the unique combination of experiences and skills that make you, YOU. Today, your brand exists both offline and online, therefore, it’s important to maintain both effectively. The perception that other people have of you and the combination of your skills is your Reputation, and this is the most important assets you have in a planet populated by 7.6 billion people.
Everyone’s reputation is unique and cannot be duplicated. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field and help you land the positions you are looking for.
However, like everything else in the live, personal branding also has its stages and rules of grown.
STAGE1 – The common person building reputation
Companies spend so much time and money to study, optimize and expand the reputation of their products, because they know – most people want to buy functional products that have a good reputation that will justify the cost.
Why should an HR manager think differently? Or a potential employer?
Of course, humans are not products, but now the representation of yourself is also in a page on Facebook, LinkedIn or Weibo in China, and often this is the first impression people have of you. There is nothing more beautiful than typing your name into Google or Baidu and seeing a positive series of content appear about you; imagine the feeling that a person who has never met you can have after seeing this.
In the modern world, people are and will be googling you at every stage of your career. What they find can have major implications for your professional (and personal) well-being. The information they find are the main elements that define your reputation. This is what everyone needs today. For successful work and career, and just for life.
Your personal brand is built over time through consistent actions. Please do not confuse the idea of having charisma with the meaning of having a brand because they are two very different things; charisma is simply something that can boost the perception of a good Personal Brand, while personal branding is built through consistent actions that showcase your skills, therefore, there are no shortcuts to branding. In a world dominated by social media, over 80% of your personal brand is built by time spent solely online.
Social media give all possibilities to any person to start his or her personal brand. With a certain amount of time and efforts it could be done successfully and a lot of owners, entrepreneurs, models and other fewer media people widely use human branding.
STAGE2 – The influencer
If you have started your personal brand in the right way, have created a certain image of yourself and your qualifications, soon you can step to the next stage of your reputation. Become an influencer.
An influencer is an individual who use his/her reputation to affect purchase decisions of others. This reputation usually is based on knowledge, expertise, position or relationship with his/her audience. The size of the following audience depends on the size of the niche.
Influencers in social media make regular posts about their specific topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic engaged people who pay close attention to their views.
Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote. Nowadays, the Internet and different media are full of examples. I’m sure, you also follow some of them.
STAGE3 – Icons from the real world
When a person achieves huge success, have created new and astonish image, he or she could become an Icon. Every single feature of their brand will be examined and repeated, but the whole personality will never be recreated. Simply because behind the beautiful picture and provocative acting there is always personal pain and tragedy.
After all, the audience will know that this person is real, that he or she spends a lot of efforts to make him/herself. The audience even will follow all those steps, watch person closely and always wonder about how exactly could he or she manage all this. The examples of such personalities extremely fast come to our minds: Marylin Monroe, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson (and we can continue this list).
Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jean Baker) was an American actress, model, and singer. Famous for playing comic “blonde bombshell” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s.
People remember her not only by her glamorous style, blond hair, sexy way of talking to others with a voice that was a mixture of baby-talk and cat’s purr or a mole on the left side of her face. Scandals, a lot of men and alcohol were always around her.
It’s important to remember that during Marilyn’s times, the media wasn’t nearly as intrusive into the lives of celebrities as it is today. But there were many stories surround Marilyn Monroe.
How can we not mention all those backchats about her and Kennedy family? In 1962, dressed in a sheer, flesh-coloured, rhinestone dress and having a playful look, Marilyn appeared before President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”. Her look, her body position and her breathy, sensuous voice made other people think that these two people had an affair. She also had an affair with JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy.
However, she always wanted to be remembered as a great actress. And, while during her life she wasn’t always recognized as such, in her later years, she received a certain amount of recognition for her work.
“If I’m a star, then the people made me a star.”
Taking acting classes, working hard as a model and an actress, giving all her soul to her job, this young woman created a perfect “social cliché” that has lasted for decades and has yet to be forgotten. The dumb-blonde look has never done her justice. Many and many women all over the world still are trying to follow this model.
Worth to be mentioned that she used to refer to “Marilyn Monroe” in the third person mode, adding at the end of a phrase “Marilyn would say that.” Psychologists believe that she did so because she could never identify herself entirely with the personality of Marilyn. “Marylin Monroe” was a name and a brand, created by one person for her entire life.
White jumpsuit, collar up and chains around his neck. Raised eyebrow, distinctive voice and sideburns. These are the things which first come to our mind when we think about “the King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley. He was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, one of the most influential musicians of that era, and by now remains the best-selling artist in history of recorded music.
The king of infinite charm, elegance, style and generosity. Always having a modest look, he would let the crowd cheer for him, flirt with him and he would feel with them the ultimate expression of freedom. Elvis Presley has a romantic personality, but his love is more impersonal as he tends to be focused on her dreams instead. When not in harmony with his true nature, Elvis can fall to moodiness, or become aloof, and withdrawn.
Elvis grew up in a loving and caring family, but the tragedy of losing twin-brother (the boy was born dead) affected him in a particularly strong way. Fragile as he was, he believed since he was a small kid that he was the cause of the death of his only brother. He had built a wall around him and let no one break it. He kept to himself, he didn’t speak much, he always tried to have a smile on his lips, in order not to show his real self and his sad feelings.
Altho, throughout his career, Elvis created an individual style which had never existed before in this form. No one looked like him. Moreover, Elvis had extremely good and polite manners. Since he was a small kid, his mother had taught him that he should be honest, show respect to his fellow men and especially to the older ones, not be involved in fights, not interrupt people while discussing and always answer with a “yes, sir” or “no, ma ‘am”. Also, he always won people’s heart with his musicality, he was discreet, he showed compassion, never offended anyone, never had prejudices against others, he was original and the most important thing was that he was not a creation of journalists. A real gentleman.
At the same time, on stage, he was always unpredictable, to the point that not even the members of the band knew what was going to happen in the next minute and he never gave the same show twice. Elvis always worked with his instinct and nothing was planned – as unplanned his life up to now was. Through singing he used to forget his mother’s worries, the helplessness of his father and his guilt about his brother.
Elvis quickly realized the importance of style in the society he lived, as he remarked that: “In a tuxedo, I’m a star. In regular clothes, I’m nobody.”
After the King of Pock’n’Roll, the King of Pop comes on stage.
The man who changed his skin colour, who else could be the example of creating a brand out of himself? Jackson surely was motivated, at least in part, by a belief common to Americans: that light skin, thin lips, small noses, and straight hair represent the most perfect example of beauty. But it doesn’t change the fact of his incredible sacrifice.
His personality was full of contradictions. Whether he was an angel or beast, his concerts in front of millions, the humans reduced to tears at the mere sight of his hand, the way his voice can soften the hardest and most frightened parts of us—these things convince us that he is the Icon. But we also can accept the existence of the kind of unblemished love he claimed to represent.
In the 1981 interview, he told, “My real goal is to fulfil God’s purpose. I didn’t choose to sing or dance. But that’s my role, and I want to do it better than anybody else. I still remember the first time I sang in kindergarten class. I sang ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ and everyone got so excited.”
The stage was his sanctuary. There, he was larger than life and no one could threaten him. Every time he left the stage, he said, he felt vulnerable again.
“Oh, no, I think I’d die on my own.”– he said once. – “I’d be so lonely. Even at home, I’m lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are some things you can’t talk to your parents or family about. I sometimes walk around the neighbourhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home.”
STAGE4 – Icons from the imaginary world
The ultimate level of personal branding is to create storytelling so compelling that we can see reality into imagination. When one creates a hero, and others it’s can not divide them. Even if the creator and the hero are absolutely different in reality. Usually, we can find such stories in the filmmaking industry.
These could be characters, which was created and played by one person and matched them so perfectly, that we forget about the real person behind. The character lives his own life, divided from its creator, but the creator will be always associated with the hero. People love such stories and start to believe, that this character is real. Let us give you some examples for better understanding.
The sweet little man with a bowler hat, moustache and cane. Do you recognise him? Charlie Chaplin? No. One of his characters, but the most significant one. It is an iconic figure of the silent-film era and one of film’s first superstars, elevating the industry in a way few could have ever imagined.
Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. He was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture. But the character of the Tramp was originally created by accident while Chaplin was working at Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studios, when dressing up for the short film Mabel’s Strange Predicament starring Mabel Normand and Chaplin. In a 1933 interview, Chaplin explained how he came up with the look of the Tramp:
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“A hotel set was built for (fellow Keystone comic) Mabel Normand’s picture Mabel’s Strange Predicament and I was hurriedly told to put on a funny make-up. This time I went to the wardrobe and got a pair of baggy pants, a tight coat, a small derby hat and a large pair of shoes. I wanted the clothes to be a mass of contradictions, knowing pictorially the figure would be vividly outlined on the screen. To add a comic touch, I wore a small moustache which would not hide my expression. My appearance got an enthusiastic response from everyone, including Mr. Sennett. The clothes seemed to imbue me with the spirit of the character. He actually became a man with a soul—a point of view. I defined to Mr. Sennett the type of person he was. He wears an air of romantic hunger, forever seeking romance, but his feet won’t let him.”
The Tramp debuted to the public in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice in 1914. Chaplin, with his Little Tramp character, quickly became the most popular star in Keystone director Mack Sennett’s company of players. Chaplin continued to play the Tramp through dozens of short films and, later, feature-length productions.
When the sound era began in the late 1920s, Chaplin refused to make a talkie featuring the character, partly due to how the character was supposed to be American, and Chaplin himself had a strong and obvious British accent. The 1931 production City Lights featured no dialogue. Chaplin officially retired the character in the film Modern Times (released February 5, 1936), which appropriately ended with the Tramp walking down an endless highway toward the horizon. The film was only a partial talkie and is often called the last silent film. The Tramp remains silent until near the end of the film when, for the first time, his voice is finally heard, albeit only as part of a French/Italian-derived gibberish song. This allowed the Tramp to finally be given a voice but not tarnish his association with the silent era.
In 1959 Chaplin commented to a reporter (regarding the Tramp character) “I was wrong to kill him. There was room for the Little Man in the atomic age.”
Rocky Balboa was born from disparate and frustrating life situation of Sylvester Stallone and became the main point of his career. By the mid-1980s Stallone’s Rocky was firmly established as one of the most popular and bankable action-film heroes.
Back at late 70’s Stallone started his career in New York. He managed to land a few off-Broadway roles and commercial assignments during his first four years as an actor. Unable to find steady work as a performer, Stallone then turned his creative energies to writing. His 29th birthday marked a major turning point in his writing. Inspired by the Muhammad Ali/Chuck Wepner fight (in which Wepner, a little known club fighter, became one of the few men ever to go fifteen rounds with Ali), Stallone realized that dignity could be a greater prize than a title.
And so, Rocky Balboa was born. Injected with Stallone’s own experience as a down-and-out artist, the character grew into a screenplay, and ultimately, into the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1976 – Rocky. Stallone went on to direct the series next three sequels, an anthology that ranks as one of the most successful in the history of MGM/UA.
“Before Rocky,” Stallone says, “I was an actor but it was very trite acting. I would always get a part as the bully, the fella we all scorn, the kind of guy you don’t want to meet on the street. I was always cast as the lug. The studio wanted to buy the script I wrote for Rocky, but they were not about to cast an unknown – especially on a boxing film. They had quite a stock of actors at that time who would fill the bill. Ryan O’Neal loved to box. Burt Reynolds, Jimmy Caan. They even thought Robert Redford would be an interesting choice, but there comes a crossroad in your life. I said, ‘This is my story and I’m so used to being broke that I am willing to go down with the ship, and insist on starring in it.’”
Rocky became a star, an icon, a role model for millions of young people. By now when we look at Sylvester Stallone we think about Rocky. Stallone created and leaded Rocky from the very beginning to the very end, from the script to the image, to the retired. However, we all understand clearly where Stallone The Actor ends and Rocky The Hero begins.
In October 2017 the magazine Total Film has declared the wise-cracking archaeologist Indiana Jones to be the very best film character of all time. By the way, the general rule seems to be, if you want to create an all-time great, cast Harrison Ford if you can: he also appears at number three of this poll as Han Solo, Star Wars snarky, rakish smuggler.
Acted by Harrison Ford, Jones is an archetype of the two-fisted, charismatic, handsome, courageous-yet-relatable adventurer in exotic lands facing spectacular secrets and most sinister bad buys. Especially since 1980s nostalgia has since built up upon his 1930s roots.
Thanks to Ford, he’s a human being as well as an icon. He has the square-jawed matinee idol looks that make him perfect for those Drew Struzan posters, but he also pairs believable academic smarts with athletic prowess, making him as convincing in a museum as he is being dragged behind a moving vehicle. Despite all his heroic qualities, he’s still something of an everyman. No superpowers. He bruises, bleeds, and there’s even an argument that he doesn’t actually influence the plot of Raiders as much as survive it. He has issues with his father and relationship troubles.
And, in what’s since become movie folklore, Ford almost wasn’t even cast as Indy, as Lucas didn’t want to look like he was treading water after American Graffiti and Star Wars. Everyone knows that Tom Selleck almost bagged the role, and missed out due to Magnum PI commitments, but did you know that Jeff Bridges turned the role down and that names as baffling as Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, and Jack Nicholson were considered? Ford was cast only three weeks before shooting began, and the rest is history.
Harrison Ford probably, and for good reasons, simply likes making “Indiana Jones” movies. Indiana Jones isn’t just the character that made Ford one of the last bonafide movie stars — it’s also a chance to do a bunch of things no other role of Ford’s could afford him.
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Brizzo is a dynamic and energetic investor, marketing strategist, musician and online reputation specialist. He is the Co-Founder of AICY Create, https://www.aicy-create.com/, a leading marketing agency based in China, with expertise in Personal Branding and China Digital Marketing.