In a world where competition is fierce, climbing to the top is strenuous and challenging. Everyone in your field is reasonably smart, educated, experienced, and even talented. And that? To be recognized as a leader or celebrity in your field … it doesn’t matter if your area of expertise is nuclear physics, business consulting, plastic surgery, sports, politics, or landscaping … you need a strategy that attracts a following.
This is happening around you and you can see the results. Here are some names: Martha Stewart, Britney Spears, Colonel Sanders, Colin Powel, Lance Armstrong, Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods. Do I need to continue? Some of these people are extraordinarily talented; some show only a talent for getting noticed. But, it’s a good bet that there are people in their fields who are just as talented, but not as well known. What makes the difference?
Keep in mind that there are degrees of celebrity that vary by region or an individual’s field. While someone may be a celebrity to some people interested in their area, to others they may be completely unknown. You may be interested in becoming a celebrity retail store owner in a small town, while someone else may want national fame in an industry.
What these people and others who want to be seen as leaders are doing is perfecting their own “personal brand.” They are following the Four Universal Rules of Personal Branding.
Universal rule n. # 1: Nothing is sold until it is marked. Here is an abbreviation to understand the brand. The mark is “presale”. We have gone from a world of sales to a world of shopping. Nobody wants to be sold anything, but they want to buy. Buyers want to research, learn, and buy the product or services they think they have discovered. They want to follow the thought leadership of someone they think they have found. The good news is, if you don’t like selling, this is a perfect strategy for you because buyers show up at your door pre-sold.
Universal rule n. 2- Visibility is more important than capacity. It’s a chilling thought, isn’t it? But think about it. Know a competitor who is incompetent but still getting business? Visibility. Visibility builds trust and all sales are built on trust. As human beings, we have some ways of judging people and products. One way is that if we see it everywhere, we start to believe that it is reliable. If everyone is investing with Bernie Madoff, we think it’s credible. So if you want to be a celebrity in your field, make yourself visible. You cannot hide behind your business or avoid the public and become a celebrity.
Universal rule n. 3: What You See Is What You Think You Get. Perception drives our world. In your quest to become a celebrity in your field, you must handle the perception or it will handle you. So, start with the image you project. Do you exude confidence? Do you stand out from the crowd? Are you sociable or do you at least have an interesting character? Avoid the sin of being too conservative and reserved that is perceived as shy and insecure, which is death for the celebrity. Harry Beckwith in his book You, Inc. says: “People think in stereotypes. People think and buy with their eyes. They hear what they see. Look at their visual cues to activate the correct stereotypes.”
Universal rule n. # 4: People trust the people they like and are impressed with. In the Western psyche “like” and “trust” and they are inextricably linked. We have a hard time trusting someone we don’t like and we intrinsically trust someone we like. Buyers always prefer to do business with a person, not a company, because we know that we can trust a person we know. Logic loses to emotion every time, and people find confidence very attractive. People buy and will pay more for the way you make them feel, so make them feel good. Everyone is looking for a guru, regardless of the field. We want advice that we can trust and follow. Show people that you are that person.
These are the principles behind the strategy of becoming a celebrity in your field. How you apply these principles is the subject of another article.