Much discussion around personal brands focuses on the story and messages we want to communicate to our audience. Such intentional strategy is important and necessary, but it is equally important to accept that it’s not your intentions that form your personal brand, it’s the perceptions you create in the minds of others. These perceptions are formed in part by what you say and how you act, but also by how people experience you and how you make them feel. Do you feel like your brand supporters are part of your tribe? Do you take time to get to know and understand them better?
A recent study on how the brain processes social interactions indicates that the brain responds stronger to close friends than to strangers who share our interests, views and beliefs. Study participants who were asked to make judgments about themselves and their friends experienced increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with the perception of value and the regulation of social behavior, regardless of whether the friends shared similar views as the participants. Judgments about unfamiliar others with common interests did not result in the same brain activation pattern. In other words, social closeness trumps similarity when it comes to evaluating people and assessing personal relevancy of social interactions.
Your personal brand is relevant as long as others perceive you as socially and personally relevant. The implication from the study is that if you want to strengthen your personal brand, perhaps, you are better off if you focus on nurturing the closeness of your human connections than on the perfection of your message. It sounds contrary to the traditional wisdom but may be more in tune with how the brain evaluates social relevance.
What do you think?