Thursday, July 09, 2009

3 basic elements of a personal brand story (and the basis for your own N-of-8 personal brand development)

Purpose, truth and action are three basic elements of a brand story. Beyond brands, these are three fundamentals of a personal story, too.

So as our teams at Stinson Brand Innovation are working on several new N-of-8® brand story development projects these days, it’s also a good time to analyze our own stories.

Let’s take a close look at these three elements:
  1. Purpose is the thing in your life you will fight for. It is the ground you will defend at any cost. Purpose is not the same as “incentive.” Rather, it’s the engine behind it. It’s why you have energy for some things and not for others.
  2. Truth means your story should conform to known facts. Ask if your personal story is a work of fantasy, a lie you tell yourself, or reflects your biases and prejudices. Maybe you’re sidestepping parts of the story that are obviously untrue because they’re just too painful to confront.
  3. Action is to engage, to achieve extraordinary depth. It’s more about energy than just time. The difference between full engagement and multitasking is not incremental. With the one-foot-in, one-foot-out level of engagement characteristic of multi-tasking, a startling number of things, all relatively inconsequential, get achieved in a short time. Consider this quote: “A distracted artist will not produce anything of real worth. An entrepreneur with scattered thoughts will not come up with solutions superior to the competition’s.”
So all good stories must have purpose, truth and action.

Here are several questions to answer when creating an energizing story for your personal brand.

  • What is my ultimate purpose? (Or, what is my company’s ultimate mission?)
  • What am I living/working for?
  • What is my defining principle and goal?
  • What makes me do what I do?
  • What is the one thing I would do, even if I had to walk through fire?
  • What would I work for, even if there were no pay?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • Is the story I’m telling true?
  • Is this truly my story, or is it what I believe it should be?
  • Is it grounded in objective reality?
  • What assumptions am I making, and are any of them faulty?
  • What am I white-washing to make myself look better?
  • Is my private voice in synch with my public voice?
  • What actions will I now take to make things better?
  • Which habits do I need to eliminate?
  • Which habits should I begin to breed?
  • Am I an observer or a participator?
  • Are my actions filled with hope — the belief I will succeed and that the change I seek is realistically within my grasp?
  • Does this story inspire or influence others into action?
In fact, why not convene your own N-of-8® personal brand development group with trusted friends, family, or colleagues to help shape your story.

1 comment:

brian cohan said...

I tried a version of this once about three decades ago.....I think the level of truth was too much for the participants, so you will have to employ solid personalities for this excercise.