By the way, Dorie has another terrific book coming out on October 3 called "Entrepreneurial You," which helps creative types find new ways to get their ideas out into the market and grow their businesses. I read it last week and it's must-reading for creative solopreneurs (yes, that's a plug -- Dorie is a friend, as well as a great writer).
How can you "discover" your brand as a way to understand it, and then maybe go about impacting it? Dorie offers what she calls "the three-word branding exercise." This "three-word exercise" was also the focus of my June podcast conversation with Kevin Kruse, who hosts the LeadX podcast:
Kevin Kruse: How did you first discover the LEADX Show?
Chuck: Through a tweet from Dorie Clark. She’s a Twitter friend and, actually, a friend. I saw that she had been interviewed by you and had mentioned the three-word self-branding exercise. I said, “Oh, this is curious, let me look into this.” So I read the article that accompanied the podcast and then listened to the podcast itself. I thought it was terrific.
Kevin Kruse: Remind all of our listeners which episode it was, and what Dorie Clark was talking about in that episode?
Chuck: She was talking about self-branding, and specifically the three-word exercise as a way to discover your personal brand. Of course, Dorie believes that your brand is already in existence. It’s not something you can manufacture, but it’s something you can discover and perhaps make some adjustments on.
Kevin Kruse: This is the exercise where Dorie said if we really want to get a jump-start on figuring out our brand, at least how others may see us -- our strengths, our uniqueness -- we should email a whole bunch of people, friends, clients, whoever we want and ask them what three words come to mind when they’re thinking of us. Tell us, Chuck, how many emails did you send out?
Chuck: Right after listening to the podcast, I put together a three-sentence email and sent it to 19 people; friends, associates, client, editors that I write for and sent it out and waited for the response.
Kevin Kruse: How many words back did you get?
Chuck: I got 13 responses. So I got 39 words back in total.
Kevin Kruse: Were you nervous about getting some feedback you might not want to receive?
Chuck: Well, my brand is already out there. I think getting feedback and being able to accept feedback, honest feedback, is something that I want to get better at doing. So yes, there was some fear. But it’s also part of the learning process to take feedback well and do something constructive with it. You can’t let that fear stop you.
Kevin Kruse: What were the results?
Chuck: I have the top six words that came back. Nine of the words, nine of the 39, almost 25%, were around “friendly, affable and kind.” That’s something I’d hoped for. That’s something I actually try to put out there in the way that I interact with people every day. Second was “reliable and diligent.” Getting things done on time. Six out of the 39 words were around that. The third, I suppose, would be “creative and intelligent.” Five for each one of those. I separate those two because I think they’re different things.
Kevin Kruse: These are great traits given what you do for a living. First of all, life is short, so we all want to work with people who we like. To find someone who’s friendly and kind but is hitting the deadlines and is creative and smart -- it pretty much sums up what I would look for.
Chuck: It’s the feedback that I wanted and it aligns with the brand that I want to create. I don’t have a lot of work to do, so the exercise was confirming.
Kevin Kruse: That’s a great word you just used, “confirming,” because to some this could be a discovery exercise, like, “Wow, I didn’t realize that I came off in this way" and it’s good news or maybe it’s bad news. Other times it just might be confirming that you’re doing a good job of what you’re putting out there, what people are hearing and seeing. Did the exercise trigger any new ideas for your personal brand or your own marketing for the rest of this year?
Chuck: Yes, I went back to my social media and I looked at whether I had those words in my social media feeds, in my profiles. I made changes to my profiles. I actually added the three top words in my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter profile, just to get them out there. It also helps me think about myself. It makes me feel more comfortable about what I’m doing, that I am trying to be affable and friendly to clients to attract and retain clients, that I’m smart and creative, that I’m reliable. It helps me work harder and keep on doing what I’m doing.
What do YOU think of the 3-word branding exercise? Comment below.