By: Nancy Blanton
Like a kid in a candy store, I used to love walking through a large bookstore like B&N. But now, as an author, I think two things and in this order:
- OMG, there are so many books out there. Why even bother writing my own?
- Of all these books, none tell the story I’m telling. I have a purpose and must see it through.
Whatever your genre and inspiration, most of us write with purpose to an intended audience. But how can we reach them in such a sea of colors, titles, expensive posters, ads and gimmicks? The answer is ageless: you must shine like an irresistible gem. You need a personal brand!
For centuries, kings and queens have used the secrets of personal branding, and not just to define themselves to their subjects. They needed support for policies and taxes, to be likable enough to prevent rebellions or assassination, and they needed to appear strong enough to intimidate other monarchs who might contemplate invasion. What can we learn from them? Plenty.
Look at one of history’s most notorious kings, Henry VIII, for example. On England’s throne from 1509 to 1547, he was the granddaddy of personal branding, and the perfect model for generating and expressing a memorable persona.
Most people are familiar with the famous Holbein portrait of him standing tall, broad-shouldered, filling up the canvas in his regal robes and codpiece. An icon of strength and robust health, this king gave the people what they wanted: physical power, great wealth, cultural sophistication, grand architecture, athletic supremacy, and a direct link to God.
What you see was not always what you got with King Henry, but he lived in an age without mass communication or the immediacy of social media, so he could get away with projecting an inflated persona that suited everyone’s needs. In today’s world, authenticity rules.
What we learn from Henry is that the strongest brands are built in values that connect with the audience. The power of a brand persona lies in its ability to touch people you may never get to meet.
So, what is a brand persona?
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