You no longer have your name – you have your name, PLUS, what people say after it.
I realized this axiom years ago during the first few years of wearing a nametag 24-7. See, while that time wasn’t the most comfortable or productive, it was certainly the most interesting and enlightening. Probably because the idea was still evolving; and wearing a nametag was still SO organic that every day brought about exciting new moments its evolution.
By the time I graduated college, strangers began to approach me not only to ask why I was wearing a nametag; but also to ask if I was, in fact, ‘That Guy Who Wore the Nametag.’
‘Um, yeah. Yeah I am,’ I’d say. Meanwhile I’d be thinking, Wow! They already know who I am! Cool.
But it wasn’t until January 15th, 2003 that it all came clear. That was the day CNN interviewed me about my first book HELLO, my name is Scott. That was the day I officially took ownership of my unique, powerful and UNFORGETTABLE personal brand – whether I liked it or not.
I guess I just never thought that ‘someone’ would be CNN.
You see, whether or not you’re a news buff, all television interviews are the same: the screen will display the person in question, his or her full name; then below is a one-line description of that person’s job title, position or role in the featured story.
So, here’s what CNN wrote about me:
SCOTT GINSBERG: NAMETAG WEARER
It was the hardest I ever laughed in my life. Nametag Wearer? Ha! You can’t make this stuff up!
Which brings up an interesting point about branding, uniqueness and making your idea UNFORGETTABLE.
PICTURE THIS: you’re sitting at the CNN studio, ready to be interviewed about your cool new idea, company or product. After giving the producer the correct spelling of your full name, she asks you, ‘Oh, and one last thing before you go on the air in five minutes: what two or three words do you want written underneath your name?’
Two or three words. That’s how fast your personal brand must be communicated. Not just with the media, but with personal introductions, marketing materials, business cards, websites and the like. It’s a sad but true fact which reflects the rapid acceleration of our culture.
What’s more, if you can’t concisely and immediately articulate who you are and what you’re all about, one of two things will happen:
1) Someone else will communicate their personal brand and steal the show.
2) Someone else will take the liberty of communicating your brand for you. And it might not be the one you want.
For example, I was once introduced before giving speech in the following way:
‘Ladies and gentleman, I have the honor of introducing today’s speaker. Scott Ginsberg…uh…doesn’t have any credentials…but uh…I’m sure you’ll be amazed by his youth! Please welcome, Scott Ginsberg.’
I could actually hear the sound of my heart breaking as I walked on stage.
At least, I think it was my heart breaking. Then again, it might have been the sound of my credibility being crushed before an audience of 100 strangers, or perhaps it was the sound of the launching sequence of a speech I was about to totally bomb, which I did.
This is what COULD happen to you if you’re not prepared to articulate your brand.
Making a name for yourself reminds me of the famous question from William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: “What’s in a name?”
Which also reminds me of a more important question: “What’s AFTER a name?”
With that in mind, answer the following six questions. (Honestly.) And you’ll be one step closer to making a name for yourself.
In the eyes of your customers, coworkers, friends and associates…
1) What are you known for?
2) What are you known as?
3) What are you (not) known for?
4) What are you (not) know as?
5) What do you want to be known for?
6) What do you want to be known as?
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you make a name for yourself?