Don’t Let Your Personal-Brand Story Just Sit There

Let’s say you’ve developed what you feel is the optimal personal narrative to support your brand.

Are you done?

Jeff Rock says no. In an article called Nurture Your Narrative, Rock says your story needs to be “developed, nurtured, and protected until such time as it can survive on its own.” (How do you know it’s ready to survive on its own? That’s one of several questions the article leaves unanswered.)

We should not, Rock advises, “put it out there and let it fend for itself.” Left on its own, the story “takes on a life of its own or just perishes,” he says. “We discount its importance and believe our work will speak for itself. It doesn’t.”

My struggle has long been with finding a personally resonant process for developing a brand story, let alone knowing how to nurture it. Rock helps by suggesting the story include your “value proposition, accomplishments, and what is important to you.” If you don’t nurture this story, “someone else may fill the void,” Rock warns. “You are neglecting a powerful tool for placing yourself in the context of other people’s lives.”

That’s important. Our brand stories help market us by enabling an emotional connection with others — who see themselves in us.

I’d like to know more, though, and see examples. “Your brand becomes more potent as your narrative proliferates,” Rock writes. “But it has to be right.”

Like so many articles on personal branding, this one could benefit from examples. What makes a brand story “right?” What identifies it as one that has not been nurtured? I would love to see what Rock considers to be a “right” personal-brand narrative compared to one that is “not ready to survive on its own.”