Pioneering Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Founder of Reach Personal Branding

William Arruda

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Your Brand, Your People

Your people As perhaps the best known philosophical riddle, if you say, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it,” most people will complete the question by saying, “does it make a sound?" Similarly, if you work at defining your brand without considering the people for whom you’re relevant, do you really have a brand? Put another way, it’s questionable if a brand exists without a brand community.

According to Wikipedia, a brand community can be defined as “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand." Of course, being a brand admirer means having a strong emotional connection to the brand – whether a product, like an iPod, or a person, like Oprah. While it may seem this kind of loyalty comes from run-away sales or superstardom, the fact is, many individuals do develop leading brands and build strong loyalty among the people for whom they deliver value.

This relationship is captured by Seth Godin, in his book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. He notes that leadership springs from the context of connection around ideas and values that inspires followers and feeds their need "to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.” He goes further to argue that everyone has the capacity to lead since there are people “waiting for you to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go.” Among the elements that ultimately bring a tribe together are common values, standards, problems, and aspirations.

In a workshop I recently attended, Pam Slim, author of Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, made the point that to be successful in business, it’s critical to identify “your people.” In her experience, ongoing marketing success is driven by finding all the places “your peeps hang out,” and joining them there. Connecting with your peeps in ways that convey your leadership and value to them is the basis for a strong brand community and long-term success.

So, who are your people and what are you doing to connect with them?

Cross-posted at Threshold Consulting

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Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.