Real talk – I cried when the first Avengers 3 [Movie] trailer was released. The trailer! They have been so meticulous when it comes to the communication of their overarching narrative over the past 10 years. Every character has a part to play. Each hero's story has been fleshed out in their own movies, in the collaborative movies, and in the Marvel TV shows as well. Every single production contributes to the overarching narrative. And that's why I cried. Because I am emotionally attached to their overarching narrative. That's how your personal brand should be treated.
Your brand is a hell of a lot more than what people say about you when you're not in the room. Your personal brand is a story. Everything needs to connect. It's not just what you do. It's an accumulation of who you are, what you believe in, what you do, how you do it, and where you are going. As well as the narrative that you tell connecting the different aspects of your life. Here are some questions you can ask yourself that have helped me flesh out my story.
Notice how I said series and not movie. We are all currently living chapters of our lives. Maybe you're in the beginning of your movie or maybe you're in the end, but it is simply a chapter of that single movie. So long as we keep on living, growing and evolving there will always be more chapters and more movies.
It's important to think long term here. I have spoken to many people that are keen on building their personal brand around a chapter of their life. They heavily attach their personal brand to a position/career that is subject to change. They attach their identity to a chapter of their life, instead of leaving room for growth. So ask yourself, where are you going? Why? That will help you flesh out the story that you are telling. And if you don't know where you are headed, that is perfectly okay as well. Make that a part of your narrative. Just don't limit yourself before your story even truly begins.
The plot is why most people will tune into your movie. It's why they will consume your story. Make it a good one, but more importantly make it an honest one.
Everyone knows that a good movie is only as good as it's supporting cast. There are multiple characters in your life and they don't necessarily have to be people. But implementing them into your story is a good way to strengthen the bond between yourself and your followers. It makes you more human.
Here are some of the characters in my life:
This works best when each character has a personality, yes, even the unanimous objects. What is your relationship with the animals/people/objects or "characters" in your story? Now trickle those relationship into your content.
Not every story needs to include the stereotypical heroes journey – but conflict is a part of life. What is the conflict in yours? What challenges have you faced? What barriers are in your life now? What are you afraid of?
I'm a fan of the difficult moments. I subscribe to the belief that adversity makes every character a character worth following. Conflict is primordial. It is innate. It's always been there. You don't have to have a rags to riches story. Your conflict doesn't have to be huge, but it is important to be aware of the conflict in your life and to implement that into your story. Whether that is past, present, or future conflict. It will make your story more relatable.
Growing up I never really cared about my physical appearance; but even "not caring" sends a message. Oddly enough this is very important to me today. Everything I post, everything I wear, and everything I create has a certain aesthetic. I'm a misfit. That is what I communicate.
It's me. It's my brand. Think of your aesthetic as the cover of your movie. It's your way of setting the scene before your viewer consumes even a snippet of your content. Like it or not, your physical appearance matters. It sends a non-verbal message into the ether screaming, "THIS IS WHO I AM!" And it's crucial that you are in control of that message.
What visual message are you sending? What message do you want to send. Make sure those two things are aligned. And then own it. You don't have to wear a quirky hat. You don't have to wear all black. But do be conscious of the fact that what you wear sends a message and heavily influences how people feel about you before they even meet you. You can only make one first impression after all.
(This is also super helpful for Brand Recognition – e.g. I am recognized for my black hat).
Some of the best advice I received I came across while reading a James Altucher article when I was in college wrestling with what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, like most 20 year olds' do. He wrote something along the lines of, if you want to discover your passion identify 3 - 5 things that you really love or are really good at. Then master the intersection of those things.
Your superpower is not a skill. It's a combination of your skills and passions. Find those things that make you super (if you haven't already), master those things, and then share it with the world.
We are all living breathing stories. Why not make it a good one, eh?
Quentin is a Marketing Lead at Greatness Media. He is a TEDx speaker, podcaster, writer and esports geek. He owns IEEG, a storytelling company, and MKE Misfits a community & events company based out of Milwaukee. His team creates compelling visual stories, partner with brands to reach their target audience, consult on storytelling/branding, and host events around the globe. He was one of the first LinkedIn video storytellers & have since used the platform to accumulate millions of views and travel the world for speaking engagements. Quentin holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology from the Cardinal Stritch University.