Welcome to the Build Your Own Brand show. In this show, we talk about specific tactics you can use to build your personal brand, grow your influence and amplify your online reputation. Let’s get started.
This show is going to focus on a process I call DICE. More on that in a few minutes but first, as with any initial episode, here’s a little background to help you understand what DICE is and how it came about.
It’s going on 4 years now since I started my personal brand journey. My journey started after I experienced 2 inciting incidents, 2 months apart.
I had two choices at this season of my life. Mope, and feel sorry for myself Or I could reframe these experiences into lessons and try to figure out a solution to move forward.
Borrowing words for Robert Frost …. I choose the path less traveled. And it has made all of the difference.
Interestingly enough, you too have the same choices when you come to a crossroads point in your life or your career.
Do you take the well-worn path? The path that most people take because it’s easy and familiar?
Or do you choose to take the path that is less traveled and overgrown because it is chosen by fewer people?
When I reached my crossroad, I decided that the well-worn path had served me well up to that point but that maybe, just maybe, my inciting incidents were telling me it was time to try a different direction.
Albert Einstein once said, “doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, is the definition of insanity”. I took this to heart and started down the overgrown path.
This decision leads to another and another and eventually to personal brands and personal branding. More important though the act of that first decision opened a new world of possibilities to me. Possibilities, I didn’t even know existed because they can’t be seen from the well-worn path.
As I continued to walk down the road less traveled, I picked up lots of new skills along the way, skills such as how to assess your strengths, how to build websites, how to a start blog and reason why you want to anyway.
I also learned how to stand out from the crowd, how to grow an audience, amplify your online reputation and ultimately, with enough hard work and effort, how to impact your career.
So how did I get to this point? What were the lessons along the way? Great questions and the answers to those questions are exactly what we’ll take about in these build your own brand episodes, that will from now on be referred to as the BYOB show.
As it traveled the overgrown path, I asked myself how can I help others do the same? As I reflected on this question, I noticed everything I was blogging and talking about, all lived in three circles; online reputation management, personal branding, and careers.
For the longest time, I looked at these three circles separately. Then one day in a caffeinated state of awareness, I noticed the 3 circles overlapped like a big Venn Diagram.
And at the center of this overlap, was a process I now call DICE.
DICE is the formula for building your brand. For growing an audience, amplifying your online reputation and if you put in the effort it’s a way for you to impact your career.
As you’ve probably guessed DICE is an acronym. It represents a 4-step process that includes Discovery, Integration, Creation, and Engagement. This is the formula I use and it’s the formula at the heart of building your own brand.
DISCOVER YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
The step Discover is all about understanding who you are as a person, how others perceive you and determining what you want to be known for.
This step is all about you. It’s about asking the hard questions of yourself, like what value do you add in the world and how do you make a difference. It’s about Discovering your strengths and learning how you can focus them to become a brand new version of yourself.
This step requires, more than anything, you to become self-aware.
Self-awareness means that you have a solid understanding of who you are and how you relate to the world. It’s means being mentally and emotionally present in situations, and understanding how your actions affect people. It also means that you're clued into to what you really like and dislike.
This step is not magic, voodoo or psycho-babble talk. This step is real. hard . work. And frankly, most people won’t do it for those reasons. which is sad because those who skip this step, will never live up to their full potential.
The Discover step lays the groundwork for the rest of the DICE process. Unfortunately, Most will want to skip right to the Engage step. I promise you if you do this, you will fail. Your efforts will be wasted.
Once you become self-aware, you will be able to identify the keywords and phrases to help you answer the question “what do you want to be known for.”
Once you know this, you are ready for the next step in the process, Integrate.
INTEGRATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Now that you understand yourself and what you want to be known for, it’s time to tell the world who you are and how you add value to it.
The best way to do this in this digital-first age is with your online presence, which starts, as always, with a personal website.
In coming shows I’ll focus specifically on the how to’s of building a website, but, for now, know this. Having your own website, something that you control, is critical for the next two steps in this process. Without it, the C and the E in DICE process will be worthless.
The Integrate steps are all about strategically creating your online presence. Notice I said strategically. Too many people, many even some of you listening, go out and sign up for the latest social media “thing” whatever that might be only to abandon it after a day, week or month. Needless to say, this is not good.
You end up with your online presence so scattered about that you are easily confused with others who share your name or worse you are completely lost in the crowd.
And Integrate is all about telling your story online in a way that makes you standout from the crowd so people can take notice.
Integrate is also what makes the next step in the DICE process possible. Have you noticed how each step in this process builds on the other one? Like any good video game, to get to the end, you have to follow the process or the path if you will.
Can you do a little exploring along the way? Sure. Just know the quickest way to get to the end of the game is to focus on the main storyline.
The purpose of the Discover and Integrate steps is to help others get to KNOW you. But for people to start to LIKE you, you need to give them a reason. Which is why the next step of the process is to create.
CREATE YOUR BRAND
Exactly as it sounds, the create step is you creating content for others to consume and for you to vet out your thoughts, in public.
The best way to create content, of course, is to start blogging which you will do on your website.
For some, blogging will seem difficult at first, and honestly, it will be if you haven’t taken the time to discover what you want to be known for.
Because in Create, all of your content will be focused on this. The keywords or phrases you want to be known for. You will share your knowledge with the “world” so to speak. You’ll hash your thoughts out on your blog in the public’s eye.
I believe there are three types of content. Written, Audio and Video. I view these three as a pyramid, with one stacked on top of the other.
Writing is at the base it serves as the foundation for the pyramid. and In terms of sophistication, it’s the easiest execute on. It only requires your brain and a writing utensil.
On top of writing, is Audio. Audio requires a little more technical knowledge but at its heart, if you write out what you want to say, it really is as simple as reading and recording your words at the same time.
Do this same thing but in front of a camera, and you have video at the top of the pyramid.
The great thing about the content pyramid is it allows for you to easily repurpose your content up and down the pyramid. I’ll cover specifics later, but to get started creating you need a website and you need to blog.
The Create step allows others to self-identify and segregate themselves. Your content will help people LIKE you. They will know where you stand, and they will either LIKE your stance or not.
If they don’t like your stance or your thoughts, they will move on to someone else and that’s ok. In fact, it’s desired. Because once you’ve used your content to tell the world who you are and how you add value by letting them know what you want to be known for, it’s now time for the final step in the process, Engage.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR BRAND
At this point in the DICE process, people know and like you. They have self-identified and decided your message, and your thoughts, align with theirs. It’s only at this point when you will get permission to start engagement with them.
Engage is what you think it is. It’s reaching out to people via social media, the phone, through meet-ups and even through a weekly newsletter, which honestly, I’m not great at right now but it is on my list for improvement this year.
Why? because Weekly correspondence via a newsletter is critical to keeping you top of mind with your audience.
The engage step requires direct interaction with the people who now know and like you. and it’s this interaction that will help you build trust with your audience.
To do this, your message needs to remain consistent. You’ve worked yourself to a point where people expect certain things from you. Take me for example. I talk about personal branding, online reputation management and how you can use both to impact your career.
You trust that each week this podcast or my posts will be about those topics. If I decide to start talking about basket weaving every week, I break your trust and you will move on.
At this stage of the DICE process, the online trust you’ve built up with your audience is exactly like the trust you build up in your real lives and you have to respect it.
Does that mean you can never pivot to something else? No. You can but it will take time and you’ll need to go back up to the Discover step to define the keywords and phrases you want to be known for again but, this time, you’ll also need to as define how to link your new direction to where you stand today.
Hopefully, you can see how this process works at a high level. Within each step there are a host of little steps and important details, such as what SM platforms should I be on, what should I blog about, how do I define my strengths, how do I know what I what to be known for?
These are all great questions. and in the coming weeks, I’ll address each of them.
At the end of every BYOB podcast, I’m going to challenge you to take action. After all, it does you no good at all to listen to this every week and do nothing.
I want to help you change your path if that’s what you want to do, but in order for you to change, you first have to act.
So my action for you this week is simple. Take some time to think about what it is you want to be known for. Once you’ve got it, List out the keywords and phrases that align with your chosen path because knowing them will be important in the coming weeks.
That’s it for this edition of the BYOB show.
As you get started this week remember this, Some will follow you and Some won’t. But somewhere out there someone is waiting for you and your message.
So break out of your comfort zone and roll the DICE.
A brand new version of yourself is waiting. Until next week. I’ve been Ryan. And I’m out.