I have this love/hate relationship with marketing myself.
On the one hand, a [probably false] sense of humility pushes me away from building a personal brand. I don’t want to be about myself, I don’t want to be the big-shot (or rather, I have a temptation to want to become the big shot, but at the same time I know I’m no Jon Bon Jovi). Afraid of becoming the head of a personality cult (unlikely as we all know that is) I sabotage my own potential. I shy away from sharing all of myself with everyone. I worry about this: Do businessmen who want training in coaching care that I’ve written a novel? Do artists want to donate toward the mission causes I serve? Will my readers care what I think enough to engage with me personally as a coach? Maybe they don’t, or won’t, but maybe they should. Because I’m afraid, I compartmentalize in an unhealthy way. That means for the past few years, I’ve scattered blog posts over six or eight different blog sites rather than having one blog that’s just me. I haven’t built a personal brand very well because of this. I’m hurting you, my readers, by holding back; and I’m hurting myself.
My favorite Super Bowl commercial from 2015 was the Locktite glue spot, with very ordinary (i.e. not-Hollywood-beautiful) people singing and dancing about how Locktite saved their lives/marriages. The first words of the commercial, sung by a very much unknown actor, were “It’s me:” And the song continues: If you make a thing or break a thing, it’s no problem.
I found the “It’s me” to be hilariously understated irony. Who is “me”? Everyman? Who is this guy? The purpose of a lot of art is to say “It’s me” but then to expound upon that concept in a way designed to impress.
But the people in the ad were so genuinely abandoned to the party for their love for this glue, that I wanted some glue. I mean, I wanted that glue bad. Because it was funny and I LOVE funny. These guys were ME. I wanted to be part of them. Watch it here.
The other lesson from the ad was that the company itself went all in. I like that. I respect it. It’s gutsy, American to the core. They spent their entire ad budget for the YEAR on this 30 second spot: $4.5 MILLION. No compartmentalization. No little billboard over here for one type of industrial glue, little magazine ad over there for a glue for home use. Just a hard-core, one-shot branding exercise. I don’t have stats, but I suspect it’s working. Look: I’m still talking about it!
I feel confident that God is going to bring the work, the funds, and the readers that I need to survive and thrive. He will bring the team around me I need to really dance, a team I can gel with, even be glued to. The donors for my nonprofit work, the clients for my for-profit work, the readers for my quirky stories. There’s something about building a personal brand that has always felt very self-serving. But if God is going to do some work in and through me, I have to do my part in developing a personal brand, so my unique design (with which I serve Him) can be seen for what it is, and supported, not so much for who I am as some great personality, but for the whole picture of whom God shows Himself to be, through me. That’s why I’m ditching all the offshoot blogs in favor of just one blog.
It’s me. Not to impress, but to be known as a whole, to provide a unique perspective on creation and the Creator.
So join my journey. It’s still hard for me to say: Follow me on Twitter @adamgfleming or subscribe to my newly-transparent blog at www.adamgfleming.com.