Careers: Getting to the Moon with Personal Branding

What does John F. Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon have to do with personal branding?

A lot it turns out, according to Chip Heath and his brother, Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

The new book has been getting a lot of buzz online and off and for good reason. It’s the perfect personal branding manifesto.

Getting back to Kennedy for a minute, the authors contend that his challenge of "Let’s put a man on the moon in the decade" is a great example of what they call stickiness. Or we would call personal branding. As the Health brothers explain:. The Kennedy challenge is a simple message. Even a child can understand it. Yet at the same time it’s unexpected. Who in the early sixties would have thought about getting a man on the moon. It’s also concrete. There’s no denying what the end result is to be.

The authors have developed a formula for stickiness (no they are not in the glue business) that they call SUCCESs. It stands for simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and story and is a great way to think of personal branding.

Think about it. How do you get people to remember what you do?

• You need to have an easily understandable message.
• It needs to separate you from the pack of other people doing what you do.
• You need to be credible and passionate about what you do.
• And, lastly, if you can tie all the pieces together into examples and anecdotes that showcase what you do you have the makings of a great sales pitch. Not to mention a good story.

Now shoot your way to the moon. But before launching, I'd love to hear how you're doing that.

Wendy Marx • Public Relations/Marketing Communications • President, Marx Communications, Inc. •

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  • Rob Cuesta

    Great post, Wendy. I'd add one more criterion to the list: your brand statement needs to be not only easy to understand, but also something that people can clearly picture in their minds eye. That makes it a really powerful anchor because you have the sound of the words AND the visual image. If you can add an emotional or experiential element to it too then your brand will be rock solid.