Confuse thou not the branding

So the branding thing has really caught on. Almost everyone is talking about branding yourself especially motivational speakers. The idea is to make yourself unique enough to be spotted from the crowd. It also helps narrow yourself down to a target group that identifies with what you represent. This then makes it easy for you to sell because you will have the right product, with the right customer- that’s a good mix.   Unfortunately like everything else the whole idea has been perverted. Whiles the branding idea is part of the marketing philosophy; it predates any subject of study but that’s another story for another day.

For the safety of the neophyte not to shoot themselves in the head before they have started out, I shall present two ways to look at the branding thing. Inside-out (positive) and outside-in (negative). As the terms implies one is when you start with the looks and attempt to work your way to the substance. It will take effort you probably cannot afford and promises nothing but a struggle to match an image you have created. This is outside-inbranding. Inside out on the other hand follows a natural flow of things and requires very little effort. You paint yourself according to what you already are. You are magnifying and polish what you are so people can identify the substance by the looks.

Mention the word branding and you will hear a lot about labels and images. Well labels give you an image don’t they? So a seemingly good advice often given is to make sure you label yourself the “right” way. Present yourself the right way so you can attract the needed attention. While, this is true, you might also want to stop and ask; if you get it wrong and that happens a lot more than you might think. And it starts when you brand outside-in: i.e deciding to make yourself what people want or want to see. Saying what they want to hear and such.  This is negative branding and its results are short-lived. Ever bought a product because of the way it looks only to be disappointed with what’s inside? Don’t judge a book by its cover apparently still holds and that’s made real using the outside-in method.


A brand is something you already have whether you accept it or not. People know you for one thing or another whether good or bad is irrelevant here at this point. This is because that’s what you are. No matter how you color yourself, they will soon see through to what you really are. You are what you are and what you are then is the best place to start your branding.

Your effort must go towards the best way to present what you are and not a change.
If you are a terrible dresser, you will never out dress the person who is naturally a good dresser. Maybe once or twice but you will soon relapse into green shirts and red shoes. You just do not have it unless of course you hire someone to take care of your wardrobe. I am not implying that you don’t make an attempt at looking good. I am saying that it is best not to be known for your dressing as you cannot back it up all the time. It’s just not you. If fashion is your thing however, you must certainly be known for your dressing and let the no-sense-of-fashion people like myself come to you for advice.

From the bright side of things however, there is something about you that some people will find useful. Notice I said some people. It just means not everyone wants what you have. They may actually prefer the nice dressing guy and that’s fine. People must get what they want not something that looks like what they want. You want to be what they want and when you show up you must look like what they want- so yes color yourself but to match what you really are inside.

Inside-out branding is then the more useful one as it’s allows what is inside to reflect outside. So that those who want you will find it easy to identify you knowing that what they see is what they will get.

Having the wrong spouse and fighting to keep them has never helped anybody. Yet very often we present ourselves in a way that others might find attractive so we can win them over. That takes a short period to accomplish and but takes a life time of struggle to maintain. This happens in all relationships either work or love. r you.

What does this have to do with performance? Everything! I suggest you also read the blurred line between walk and talk.

The following questions help you make a valuable assessment.

Is there a gap between how you present yourself and what you really are? Describe the difference.

Recall a specific situation where you have said you could do something that you knew you couldn’t?

What was the motive behind your action?

Have you ever been disappointed when you came near someone you admired from far?

What was different about them compared to the image you had about them from far?

Email the answers to  spidup@csdafrica.com to join our no-obligation,  one month free performance coaching program.

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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