There is undeniable value in learning to brand yourself and you can take advantage of it.
For instance, have you ever found yourself completely smitten by someone you’ve met in person or online?
It happened to me in person twice, and both times, it was pretty magical.
The first was by far the most insane.
When I was growing up, I was a HUGE Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen fan.
No shame in my game!
As a result, you could find me in Chicago Bulls gear, one out of the seven days during high school.
There were two teams in my world, as a basketball fan.
The Macedonia Foxes (my Alma Mater) and The Bulls.
My brother and I knew Jordan’s stats better than most and offered no apologies for our bullish obsession.
As a result, fast forward to Spring of 2002.
I was in graduate school and working at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, MD, leading up to the 2002 US Senior Open.
As a member, Micheal Jordan frequently played 36 holes.
Impressive to say the least, but I never thought too much of it. The Club is high-profile, but there weren’t many peeps I got excited about meeting.
However, I made it painfully clear to anyone who’d listen, Oprah and Michael Jordan were the equivalents of Zeus and Aphrodite in my book.
Jordan And Oprah: The Greek God and Goddess
I weaved Michael Jordan in most of my conversations about sports with anyone who’d listen including the guys in the Pro Shop.
Therefore, I’m sure they were over my Jordan rants.
Then as God often does, he showed up and out for me.
In other words, one extraordinarily airy Caves Valley spring morning I call came in to stop by the Shop.
Freshly settled in with my morning latte, I hoped up strolled over.
Hitting the front porch, I was greeted by my boy Steve’s electric grin and I knew it would be a good day.
“Rhodes, it’s your lucky day,” he said! Oh yeah, I thought.
My mind raced and my heart thumped.
Boom! Boom!! Boom!!! In other words, each beat was stronger and faster.
I assumed either Oprah Winfrey or Michael Jordan was within reach, in other words, it was my special day.
Seconds later, Micheal Jordan stood less than 300 yards away from me.
It was all a dream (in my Notorious BIG voice), a blur of sorts.
Thanks to Steve (I often wonder where he is) and a few other guys in the Pro Shop that day, as Mike hit the turn on the first nine and rolled up to the beverage cart, I was there to serve him.
As a result, I’d practiced over and over in my head what I’d say.
Hello, Mr. Jordan.
Good day, Mr. Jordan.
What a pleasure Mr. Jordan?
Then it happened, and I felt completely numb.
The Power Of Personal Branding
With only a minuscule recollection of the minutes following that, it went something like this.
I hopped off the golf cart and positioned myself behind the beverage cart and then took a deep breath.
Pounding heartbeat, sweaty underarms, slightly elevated breathing, and crazy self-talk took over.
THEN, within a millisecond I was face to face with my favorite living legend and my mind vanished.
Standing before me was a larger than life utopian specimen of a man, perfectly chocolate with a massive presence and get this, a Barry White-style voice.
Oh- my Gosh!
Within arms reach was what I’d come to call the Geek God.
Therefore, it was intense Y’all! He greeted me with a big gentleman smile.
I faintly heard him say something just before requesting a Heinkein mixed with ginger ale.
Like WHOA, can you ask for a more dapper golf cocktail?
My ears started failing me, but I faintly heard him. As a result, I really couldn’t respond.
Completely speechless I had no response and I was silent.
For ironically the first and last time in my life, I had no words but I felt everything.
More silence as you could hear a raindrop on a rabbits tail.
Stillness flowed from silence for what seemed like minutes.
Ohhhhhhhhh so, AMATEURISH.
Later, Steve and the caddy assured me it wasn’t as awkward as I’d recall.
Meanwhile, I’m still not convinced my body didn’t completely vanish. Either way, I’m so good with it.
What ego? I met and served Michael Jordan.
Sow what that lost all my cool points that momentous spring day and happily left them at hole #9 on the front nine at Caves Valley.
Personal Brands Are Expressed By Experiences
It still cracks me up. For instance, why did I completely lose my shit?
Because… Michael Jordan’s personal brand was one of iconic, larger than breathing life, and a true living legend status in my mind.
Being in the presence of a human being whom I revered to be the absolute greatest at what he did, took me back to being a youngster watching him with complete awe.
Therefore, for most of the ’90s, when the Bulls (aka Jordan) was on, I was glued to the screen.
Jordan got better, more dynamic and heroin season after season and I was able to witness it.
As a result, I saw a human being do what I viewed as superhuman things, like damn near fly.
Let Your Light Shine
To me, each of his performances somehow outshined the last.
As a superfan, I never felt disappointed and was always enamored.
Michael Jordan and Oprah represented something very extraordinary to me.
Above all, they demonstrated what was possible for people who honed their craft and worked hard.
I felt inspired and as a result, developed lots of aspiration as a young girl of color growing up in the deep South.
Mike and Oprah embodied what it meant to be iconic.
The impact those impressions and experiences from watching Jordan’s achievements at a sport I loved, earned him a special place in my mind.
As a result, Michael Jordan was an untouchable brand that I’d gotten to know, like and trust way before ever having the pleasure of meeting him.
Jordan was the third overall draft pick in the 1984 NBA Draft after not initially making his high school basketball team.
Yet, Jordan moved beyond that to earn arguably the best basketball career of his era.
Above all, his career wrapped with 6 NBA championships.
Wait on it, 5 NBA Most Valuable Player awards and 14 appearances at NBA All-Star.
How To Brand Yourself Like Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan earned the position as a living legend in my mind because of his visibility.
I saw his persona, talents and unique style of playing the game and leadership play out on the court.
Therefore, Jordan resonated with me, he inspired and motivated me.
No, you don’t need six NBA Championship Rings or to hold national records.
Find and own your version of the like, know and trust factor Jordan mastered.
Get comfortable and consistent being seen and heard by your audience.
Think about this, Jordan’s job was to sell tickets.
It’s now your job to be like Jordan: Make your personal brand visible and relatable to people you want in your tribe.
Show them through their experiences with you what value you offer that could benefit them.
Embrace your authenticity.
For instance, share your story with them. In other words, message your brand in a way that illustrates why your ideal customer should care.
Tell them what’s in it for them, they have a problem or aspiration and you have a solution.
Get More Insight
Here’s some more insight about identifying your ideal customers in The Ultimate Brand & Business Building Plan here or below.
The more you learn about the people you’re committed to serving, the more prepared you’ll be to effectively communicate with them.
As a result, you’ll position yourself to serve them with your experiences, talents, craft or passion in a meaningful way.
How To Brand Yourself For Online Success
Connect and engage with the people you’ve identified as your ideal customers.
Share content, information, and insight that you know they’ll find value in.
Speak to them in a language they’ll understand and will relate to.
Show them you’re in with them and have a genuine interest to help them achieve their ambitions.
The more resonance your audience feels toward you, the more influence your personal brand will have with them.
As you know, people promote, talk about and do business with people they like and trust!
In the not so distant past entrepreneurs, creatives, and coaches could’ve been “invisible” without many linkages of their personal brand to the business they owned, managed, or worked for.
Then swooped in the 500 billion dollars ecommerce boom.
Today there’s a lot of money to make and even more impact to realize online.
I challenge you to make the most of the opportunities available, and how to do that you ask?
Show up consistently and bring worth and engaging conversations to the people you want to earn influence with.
Through being seen and heard online with a strong story and consistent messaging, over time, your brand will make a positive impact.
Five Personal Branding Tips Jordan Taught Us About How To Brand Yourself:
- Consistency rules. Michael Jordan was consistent at winning period.
- Hone your distinct personal brand. Like him or not, you know who Michael Jordan is. Who are you, what are you great at, and what’s your vibe and style?
- Failure is not an option. Being cut from his high school basketball team only motivated Jordan to work harder. He rebounded better than ever. Jordan still holds records for something he was once told he wasn’t good enough for.
- Become really confident in your craft and always strive to get better, learn more and evolve in your talents. The essence of Michael Jordan’s personal brand is excellence.
- Get comfortable being seen and heard and showcasing your excellence. Michael Jordan was a superstar on and off the court.
Personal branding can feel overwhelming at first, but don’t let up.
Have fun with branding and use it to share your unique story with your tribe.
In conclusion, don’t be intimidated to put yourself out there because the more you do, the more natural it’ll feel.
Talk to me! What’s been your biggest personal branding obstacle and how will begin to overcome it?