How a convicted scammer taught me about personal branding.

Updated: Apr 25

I’m going to ask you one question, and I want you to think about it for a few moments.

What do you want to be known for?

If someone mentions your name, business, or brand what do you want them to say?

Some people can answer this question in a matter of seconds, while it may take others a lifetime to figure out.

Let me start by stating that personal branding isn’t just for someone who owns a business, for instance, let’s talk about Anna.

Inventing Anna is a lecture on personal branding.

Viewers have been obsessed with the show. But why the craze? Because we all see ourselves in her, and we want to become like her. A successful grifter? No. But to invent our own version of ourselves.

Let’s start with some basics, Personal branding is the practice of marketing people.

It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual.

There are many elements when creating a successful personal brand, personally, I like to stick with these 4.

Consistency, personality traits, story, and associations.

How did Anna Delevine create her personal branding based on this?

1. Consistency:

We see Anna holding on to her personal brand despite being on trial on charges of fraud. Even till the end, she asks for new clothes to stand in front of the judge and even demands Vivian avail herself of the VIP services if she wants her story. Another kink of her? She went on insta right after her trial and being nearly deported, and bid her real story to the most popular media outlets in the world. This girl knows no shame, and you gotta love her.

2. Personality traits:

The lady had taste. From her intern days at ultra-hip European art magazine Purple, she honed an instinct for what was in and what was out, and it was apparently strong enough to pass the smell test with fashion photographers and gallerists.

Secondly, she was mean in a way that suggests the kind of social stature that allows one to get away with such behavior. She makes convincing threats as she bullies various workers into compliance, exploiting their desire not to get in trouble with the higher-ups that Delvey claims to know personally.

3. Story:

Whenever she’s cornered by someone demanding the truth, be it the journalist Kent or an irate acquaintance, Delvey either tells a sob story about paternal neglect or leans into a sort of girl-bossy entitlement to do what men have always done. The secret ingredient? She picks up a single storyline and sticks to it long enough. That allows her to later tweak it to her convenience.

4. Associations

Networking and having the right brand friends in your circle can scale up your brand value. Case in point, Anna befriending Kacy Duke and Taila Mally. Their friendships lend credibility to her brand, as you will witness in Inventing Anna.

Having great personal branding is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want your followers to see. And don’t we all do it at some point? Is social media feed the reality? Does LinkedIn have all the facts about our employment? Does our profile picture really reflect our current state?

So I ask again, what do you want to be known for?

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