Personal Brand 2021 | 5 Insights, 5 Trends, 3 Questions, 1 Exec Summary
Updated: May 13
What a time to be in an adventure!
I'm curious as to the emerging ideas, interest, and work I find myself doing in the area of Personal Brand these days.
Essentially I perceive it to be about (business) growth. And business growth is an area of enormous interest to me. Personal Brands can be a fundamental pillar of business growth.
This is a long piece.
Longer than almost any other on the site, so for those who consume content with the famous TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) filter to the ready, I have created an executive summary up front - any insight, trend or question you'd like to delve further into is hyperlinked for just that reason.
My wish is that this content opens you up more so to the possibility of you being more steadfast in showing up anyway, regardless of your ideas of why that is not possible for you just now.
The Executive Summary
Personal Brand 2021 - 5 Insights, 5 Trends, 3 Questions
Fear of Being Seen - believe it or not, you are one of the reasons other people don't invest in a personal brand.
PERSONAL BRAND - FIVE INSIGHTS
INSIGHT 1 - SOME ETYMOLOGY!
“Entrepreneur is a French word probably coined by the economist Jean-Baptiste Say from the word entreprendre, which is usually translated as "undertaker" or "adventurer."
INSIGHT 2 - PASSING ON INFORMATION IS IN OUR DNA.
As Below, So Above. As within, So without. - The Law of Correspondence, Hermetic Law
Micro is expressed in the Macro. The Macro is seen in the micro.
At our fundamental micro level, passing on information Is literally in our DNA. We pass on (efficient) information (DNA/RNA) for the evolution of the human species.
At a macro level, we pass on information for the evolution and advancement of mankind. We are quite literally designed to continuously evolve and expand in ever-increasing degrees of efficiency, while experiencing the innate desire to pass on that information to others.
We leave one comfort zone for our next adventure until that adventure also becomes a comfort zone, willing us on to the next adventure. As we move through a set of experiences, we become privy to insights. ideas, and efficiencies that when shared with others, enables them to pursue their own adventures, with greater efficiency.
In gobbledy-goop, our macro world is a fractal expression of our micro world.
And one of the core reasons you have such a strong sense that you have a message, idea, or adventure to pursue and share with others, is down to this human condition; the human need to pass on information.
INSIGHT 3 - TO PERSONAL BRAND OR NOT TO PERSONAL BRAND?
That is a common question.
Life expresses and evolves with, or without you.
Driven, by what Barbara Marx Hubbard, (USA VP Candidate, 1984, The Godmother of Conscious Evolution), referred to, as the Evolutionary Impulse, life is pushing, pulling and driving towards full expression.
We need only pause for a moment to observe the state of our working world; active searching of you returns results that Google holds on you, social media profiles have of you and what others have shared about you with you tagged.
The reality that has emerged in our working world compels your personal brand into existence whether you have been deliberate with it or not. As a result, the question many of us wrestle with, has been answered for you. You now get to reflect on whether there is something you want to do about it, or not.
INSIGHT 4 - FEAR OF BEING SEEN!
It’s a very real sensation that over 90% of professionals I come into contact with, experience.
“What will they say, think or comment about me?”
“Who am i to be taking a spotlight of any kind?”
“It’s not perfect, enough yet!”
Or the other one that I tend to experience from time to time,
“Do I really have something valuable to say and share? Isn’t everything I’m talking about just basic common sense anyway?”
If you knew how many people are staying hidden because of what you might think about them, would you shake your head in disbelief and voice some opinions about how you would appreciate access to another person’s intel and war wounds on a subject matter to make your go of it that much more efficient?
I embraced a concept years back that has quite literally set me free from so much of this particular area:
“Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.”
99% of the time, those opinions are projections rooted in their own underlying insecurities, fears and inner dialogue as to how they feel about themselves.
I know that is true when I pass remark on another person.
I catch myself mid judgement - and invite myself to look for the areas in my life where that judgement I am wanting to assert on another, is actually true of myself?
I’ve done this about 10,000x as I write this article - 10,000 times out of 10,000 - I was projecting my own shit on another person.
When I invited myself to get honest about that judgement as it relates to me - I got to go and find another part of my unconscious self, that wants to be seen and re-integrated in a way that allows it to express in harmony with my adventure.
When I glance back at the person that I was originally wanting to judge - that judgment has fallen away - in its place is a feeling of respect for their commitment and courage - as well as for presenting me with an opportunity to find yet another one of my blind spots.
Fear, Shame, Guilt (FSG) as there are three of them in this clan, I grabbed the 3 sided shape, Triangle, and put FSG and Triangle together to label this area: FSG Triangles.
The moment you get into action venturing out of a comfort zone, FSG triangles are required to show up and greet you.
We have been taught to avoid pain.
So many times, an FSG triangle appears and we slink away. not realising, that the FSG triangle is the way out of your comfort zone and onto your adventure.
As you embrace each FSG Triangle that rises up to meet you, you get to do the inner work required to neutralise that particular fear being experienced to grow into the version of you that gets to realise the full expression of this adventure you are setting out on.
You don’t get to realise the vision without greeting your fear along the way. Fear is a signal that you have a blind spot that is now ready to be seen and re-integrated. As you do that work, you grow into that version of you that completes Adventures.
INSIGHT 5 - PERFECTLY IMPERFECT IS THE WAY
There is this great analogy belonging to Buckminster Fuller on Precession.
I lovingly refer to him as Bucky.
I remember the day that I was sat in a conference listening to a line up of great minds when the conversation shifted towards the term #Precession. It kind of blew my mind.
Here's my interpretation of Bucky's paper on #Precession. The honey bee believes its goal in life is to visit a flower and partake of its nectar. So it does exactly that.
Now as the honey bee is in meaningful action, pursuing its goal of honey, what happens? Its wee little legs get covered in sticky pollen. As it moves from flower to flower, pollination happens and the honey bee inadvertently discovers its true purpose; sustaining vegetation on our planet to maintain the circle of life that is.
It is inside of meaningful action, pursuing the goal that we value most, that our true purpose is discovered. We don't get to conjure our true purpose from our thinking self.
PERSONAL BRAND - FIVE TRENDS
TREND 1 - ALL THE ‘PRENEURS REJOICE!
Flexipreneur - one who is undertaking a few adventures
Intraprenuer - one who is undertaking an adventure as part of their job working for a firm
Mepreneur - one who is undertaking an adventure to express their genius that may or may not yet be monetised
Soulpreneur - one who is experiencing an awakening and pivoting their professional pursuit to make room for this new soul pursuit.
Entrepreneur - one who is undertaking risks to pursue a profitable adventure
The age of the “preneur is here - and the list is growing.
I have had the great privilege of working with renowned architects, medical practitioners, Investment Fund Managers, and similar who have reached a point of not being able to continue in the traditional model of their business, but now seeking ways to pivot their profession into a hybrid of profession and soul based adventure. A trend that is only increasing.
TREND 2 - LONG LIVE BRANDSCAPING
Brandscaping and the responsive brand is very much alive and well.
Adapt, Agile, Authentic are three governing principles due a fair amount of credit for Brandscaping and Responsive Branding becoming permanent features in the Personal Brand Castle.
Brandscaping is exactly as it sounds. Landscaping your online brand as you move through your own four seasons, as weather changes affect outputs, and as new discoveries are made. You get to, let me rephrase - you are expected to brandscape accordingly.
In a very practical way, this can be revising a brand identity to have your first last name be the brand, eg. www.shannoneastman.com and tagline Eg. Work That Matters, that positions your genius, be the revision as you move deeper into your adventure or move onto the next one.
TREND 3 - UNADVERTISING
I do declare (said with thick Southern accent) - I value greatly SEO and social metrics.
I just tend to hold them at an arm’s length in the world of business development priorities, as they are a nice to have for established brands, and a 2nd or 3rd priority for brands going from Zero to One.
I am also deeply aware of social numbers being racked up as a result of virtue signalling, that lives far away from pipeline and sales funnel quality metrics.
I have never been a big fan of online advertising - and can count on 1-hand the number of online ad campaigns I have run for clients in the last 5+ years.
I have found far more valuable ways to create sales and grow revenue.
Online Advertising is a whole other ebook I am not going to write. Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian has gold to say, share, and show on this topic - so if you’re keen to know why I’m a bit jaded by the online ad world and don’t embrace it as readily as the next marketer, Bob’s your guy. I’m a huge fan of his - and if this topic is your thing - you would be hard pressed to find another brilliant marketing mind on the subject.
So if it is not Traditional Online Advertising, then what the heck is it? I’ll start with this; fans get you fans.
And I’ll point you to Trend 4 and Trend 5 to unpack #UnAdvertising.
TREND 4 - MICRO INFLUENCERS
This is a concept I have been experimenting with since 2012 - the first few years gave me tons of what-not-to-do and even more insights as to why-this-doesn’t-work until finally, I figured out how to create sustainable and profitable results with a core set of micro-influencers.
My original idea back in the day was to maximise results for small businesses with limited marketing budgets to yield mind blowing results by co-creating marketing campaigns between three small businesses who each served the EXACT same audience in complimentary ways. In the center of those 3-small businesses was one Marketing Lead who would ensure company A and B were seen in meaningful ways among Company C’s audience and vice versa.
The idea was to create a meaningful content collaboration between the three companies that the shared audience would find hyper relevant to them.
I figured that by pursuing this, I could at least reduce a company’s marketing budget by 50%, while facilitating the best possible co-created content that reached the largest possible audience.
Let’s just say that I failed my way to success on this one.
Today this looks more like this:
3 Thought Leaders who compliment each other while serving the exact same audience come together to participate in a piece of meaningful content, deemed hyper relevant by their respective audiences. Each of the three get their own marketing campaign. So picture three strands of rope that have their autonomy while simultaneously serving the group; those three autonomous strands braided together, becomes a 4th autonomous initiative.
I have been able to create ways for each to show up in their own spotlight, contribute their own genius, while building on and leveraging the genius (and spotlights) of the other two involved.
The collaboration guarantees brand new content. The commitment to original, hyper relevant further guarantees the meaningful-ness of that initiative.
The concept is rooted in Governing Dynamics.
Governing Dynamics, Great Economist, Author Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith and Dr. John Forbes Nash have contributed enormously to this theory being used in industry the world over.
TREND 5 - MEANINGFUL MATTERS
Ah yes - Meaningful. It was circa 2015 when I saw something show up that I couldn’t quite understand at face value. So like any good marketer, I went away and did some research on the 3 biggest consumer trends by year, from 2005 to 2015. The results were embarrassingly obvious - and yet I would never have found the conclusion without undertaking the research.
The results were simply this: Meaningful Matters. Customers wanted meaningful interactions, employees wanted meaningful work, businesses wanted meaningful results.
I concluded that circa 2015, we were entering the world of Head and Heart. In contrast, we were leaving the world of Head only. Marketing in the Head only world was based on logic, reason, facts and using your Fear and FOMO to get you to take the action we wanted you to take.
Head and Heart by contrast wanted the logic, fact, reason AND the feeling that I trust you, want to do business with you because what we are setting out on is meaningful to me. (us).
I called my (clunky - well intentioned but rough around the edges) research: The Conscious Economy Rising: The synthesis of a consumption economy with a conscious economy. I suggested that meaningful would have a far bigger impact on business over the next 5 years than social media has on business in the past 10 years.
Meaningful resonates. Meaningful experiences conjure heart based feelings that on the surface level just feel right, but when we unpack it a bit further, we observe the synthesis of head and heart. “What I am seeing makes sense and it feels good” because feeling, or the heart side of the equation is involved, there is a resonance that for the most part is unconscious in those it rubs up against. A hidden field that attracts. And the inverse is true - in the absence of resonance we have an unsettling feeling that we pull away from. Smoke and mirrors and gimmicks and tricks in our business development efforts by comparison feels brassy.
Meaningful feels good - and now that we have experience of both, we unconsciously are pulled towards Meaningful more so than brassy. We (unconsciously) know the difference
That clunky research of mine is over here >> The Conscious Economy Rising
PERSONAL BRAND - THREE QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1 - IS IT YOUR TIME TO PUSH OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
Maybe. And I would like to suggest that timing is always perfect, regardless of what we may think. So if it’s not now, feel calm in that assertion. Premature harvesting of a field of crops produces heart ache.
QUESTION 2 - WHAT IS YOUR HEART SONG?
Chances are that is the very thing you long to be known for. The area you have vast experience in and thus valuable information to pass on. From food to back end operations, to working with autistic children, to marketing and communication - you will have something that gives you energy, has you bursting with ideas, and wants to be the backbone of some adventure.
QUESTION 3 - WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU PERCEIVE TO BE SHOWING UP BLOCKING YOU FROM BEING SEEN?
Making the unconscious conscious shifts perception.
Shifting perception presents opportunities not otherwise seen.
Seeing opportunities compels new ways of thinking and pursuing ideas that you otherwise wouldn’t have accessed.
Thus we write stuff down!
Write down the three things you perceive to be in the way of your and your adventure.
When you see them written down, the reflection you can hold for those three items can be to ask yourself,
Is this true?
How do I know this to be true?
What tangible evidence is there that this is true?
What if they are not true?
Shannon Eastman, Growth Consultant
Inside Growth Podcast
Shannon Eastman is a growth consultant, human behaviour expert, communications adviser, management consultant, mentor and business coach. Shannon is the Host of inside GROWTH, Founder of Funds Ireland MiniCon and an Advisor to starts ups in the Middle East.