One of my all time favorite Lance Armstrong commercials for Nike back in 2004 is called “Magnet”. The commercial shows how Lance attracts attention throughout a training ride.
Beginning with a scene off the California coastline and moving in over jumping dolphins and rolling waves we discover Lance Armstrong cycling along on a training ride. Outpacing a passenger train, his magnetism soon attracts a flock of geese, a gang of Harley bikers, kids inside a hospital cancer ward and a herd of buffalo. Armstrong pushes on through a rain storm before arriving in San Francisco where a throng of cyclists fills the streets behind him. At last, momentarily solo again, Lance’s attractive force helps a young boy on his BMX bike close the gap between them.
Regardless of my own passion for cycling and honor for Lance, I find the the commercial visually beautiful and the unspoken message powerful. Of course in 2004 I never made the connection to personal branding, but I recently recalled this commercial as I thought about the magnetic power of a personal brand. The commercial brings to mind a handful of attributes that make up the ‘Lance Armstrong Personal Brand’ including dedication, physical ability, commitment, leadership, and power.
Your Brand is a Magnet
Your personal brand is a magnet, and as shown in this commercial, when others are attracted to your brand they will follow. The trick is how to build this attraction. Follow these three important stages and your brand will be magnetic.
Stage 1: Believe Your Brand
If you think you will fall off the bike, you will never get on.
- Lance Armstrong
In Stage 1, ‘Believe’, you also need to find your groove as you work hard to unearth and ‘extract’ your brand. Using the 360Reach personal branding assessment you discover your brand attributes, skills, strengths, and competencies. Teaming up with a trained and certified personal branding coach, you analyze your results and establish a firm belief in your brand. This motivates you to finish this stage committed to continue the race to ‘become’ your brand. Your belief, which is your core and foundation, empowers you pedal forward.
Stage 2: Become Your Band
Life is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we do not use.
- Charles M. Schultz
In cycling you need to use all of your gears. The lighter gears help on the steep climbs and the heavier gears propel you forward with greater speed. In Stage 2, ‘Become,’ you will shift through 10 gears as you pass through personal branding “check-points” such as defining your vision-purpose-values-passions, setting your goals, defining your target audience, understanding your competitors, writing a personal brand statement and branded bio, drafting a communication plan, etc. This is the leg work and all gears are needed to ‘extract and express’ your brand to launch your brand forward.
Stage 3: Be Your Brand
It’s not about the bike.
- Lance Armstrong
Stages 1 & 2 have a finite end point, a “finish line” if you will. In Stage 1, you cross the finish line once you establish a firm belief in your brand. In Stage 2, shifting gears and completing each action item enables you to become your brand and finish the stage. Stage 3 is less about a race and more about staying in the zone. There really is no finish line as you have to be your brand all the time.
In the end it is about you and not the bike. Lance Armstrong was able to win the Tour de France 7 times because he successfully managed his fitness, health, environment, technique, and equipment. Everything he did, wore, and ate allowed him to demonstrate that he was the best. Likewise, by managing your brand environment you ensure that you ‘exude’ an on-brand message. You are your brand in everything you say, wear, and do. Stage 3 teaches you to stay in that zone on the “road to success” and make adjustments as needed to be your brand. By believing, becoming, and being your brand you are the magnet that will attract others.
How do you make your brand magnetic? Share your ideas below.
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