Siliconcowboy's Blog

Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility

Brands are for the Over 40 Set

If you are over 40 years old and you haven’t gathered a significant nest-egg (which most people think they will spend on their later years but will likely be spent on your parents, your kids and your health), it’s time to get into action.

Working for others has gotten you this far. But as many of us already know from being laid off during a recession, the older you are, the harder it is to stay at the level you have achieved.

Unless you are in the old-boy network of stock adorned vice presidents and above, the likelihood that you have already reached the top of your corporate compensation package is quite high.

It’s time to start thinking about your brand.

Now, I’m aware some people may read this and feel their hearts sink to the floor. They’ve worked all their lives at doing one thing well, and they think they don’t have anything else to give.

Ironically, if you are one of these people, you’re likely to find that the journey to your brand is one of the most exciting things you have ever done.

The journey begins with discovering what really moves you as a person.

  • Is it your work, or your leadership ability?
  • Is it your contribution, or your intellect?
  • Do you feel that you are doing what you wanted to do when you were a kid? What was that?
  • If you are technical, do you have a creative side?
  • If you are in management, is there a hobby or a passion that you keep to yourself?

One of the most important aspects of building a personal brand is understanding what you want to accomplish by doing so.  For instance, are you trying to:

  • Launch to the VP level and stay there?
  • Start a new company?
  • Start a new career?
  • Engage your creative passion?

Importantly, you should be aware of what brand is.  Brand is the total experience that others have of you or your company.  It is your appearance, your actions, your words, your product, your interaction with your customers, the things that others say about you.  If  you want all of this to reach a point of excellence – a point which former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki calls “enchantment,” then you have to be cognizant of how you communicate and interact with everyone you meet.  Make your brand exceptional.

Brand is the total experience that others have of you or your company.  It is your appearance, your actions, your words, your product, your interaction with your customers, the things that others say about you.

As a practical matter, it’s also key to know what it is you intend to sell. After all, if you are not creating a transaction that rewards your efforts financially, you’re just giving your hard work away.  That’s a major drawback of social media, by the way; much of what is delivered into the space is free, and therefore lost revenue to whomever it was that created it in the first place (unless they somehow tied it back to their site).  Even if all you are hoping to achieve is recognition, you should know that success has financial value that you rightly deserve.

The point is, if you’re ready to launch a brand, make sure you’ve got something to sell. Too many people get caught up in creating followers and audience without first having a sense of what they are doing, and consequently they end up borrowing from others, ultimately falling into multilayer marketing schemes or poorly thought out business plans, or worse, finding that the following they have created is incompatible with the market they are trying to reach.

Financial independence is increasingly difficult to achieve. Some say it is an illusion, not really possible for most of us.

I say it is possible, if you simply focus on what you want your brand to be, and how to make that valuable to others.


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This entry was posted on May 3, 2012 by in Art of Communication and tagged , , , , , .
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