I've just attended IBTM World 2016 in Barcelona Spain and while there are numerous learnings and opportunities to further explore, there was one very obvious fact no one there could ignore.
Success in meetings, events and networking is largely reliant on your ability to promote your personal brand. While exhibitors from around the world put on a top show with installations and activations that showcased the culture and colours of their region, it was the people with whom you met that left the greatest impression.
This is critically important to remember when doing business – no matter what your objectives. Whether selling sponsorships, project managing events or negotiating deals, how you shape, live and breathe your personal brand is everything.
It's not your brand name or your products or services that people are actually buying. It's you. While the features and benefits count, nothing counts more than how quickly your potential buyer builds an impression of you. People buy your personal brand. As Jennifer Holloway shared during IBTM World, there's your 'what' which is functional, it's what you do – your experience and your ability to deliver. But there's also your 'who' and this is where people make their buying decision. You've got to sell who you are on an emotional level.
Here's where the problem for people often lies. We aren't clear on who we actually are or what we're selling. If we can't quickly and easily communicate what we're selling, how can we expect others to know or to come along for the ride? They simply won't and you won't reach your full sales potential.
So what does your personal brand say about you?
If I can share with you my own personal journey. I live a extraordinary life, and I think those of you who know me, would agree. But I can tell you one thing. It's not because of good luck. It's not been accidental. Every decision I have made in my life, for better or for worse, has been because I back myself. I back my ability to survive no matter what is thrown at me and it's because I have nothing to lose that I am creating and living this remarkable life.
Publicly, I feel guilty for the opportunities that come my way so I often try downplay what's going on in my life. I don't want to upset anyone or create resentment so I have always run the race in second position. By this I mean I don't naturally put myself out there, I fly under the radar because it's safest there. What I'm doing for myself though is creating incredible pressure to come up with the 'right goods' at the right time, the right place and in the right way to finish the race. But what is the race that's in my head and will the finish line ever be in sight? I could live the rest of my working career playing in second position and never grant myself the opportunity to shine – simply because I don't want to upset or offend anyone.
The reality is, some people will like our personal brand and others won't. You can't expect to win them all and nor should you try. I now know I don't need to run in second position any more. The time is now because I owe it to myself and to the brands which I champion. I am going to own my success and I encourage you to do the same.
Know who you are and what you stand for then go forward in this world, proud and fearless. There's plenty of room for us all to play when we do our individuality justice.
Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org what you thought of this blog or if you would like help in building your own personal brand. I'd love to hear from you.