I have been wanting to write this article for some time now to help professionals understand one of the concepts that is at the very foundation of our personal branding programs, and that is, “Perception Is Reality”. When I saw this article today on splinternews.com about Megyn Kelly, I knew I had to write it my thoughts about Megyn and her brand in hopes that it would give you some direction when building your own personal brand.
I was going to title the article “From Bad Ass to Bunny”. Although that title is a bit provocative and gets one’s attention, that’s not really my style. So, I thought about it for a few months and one night I had a dream about the article. And as I completed the article in my dream, I closed with the title, “Will the Real Megyn Kelly Please Stand Up?” And this is the point of this article.
This phrase came to me from the popular TV series, To Tell the Truth, from the 1950’s. For those who don’t remember it or have not seen the newer version as of 2016, it is a game show where three people are on a panel and only one of the them is the person that is the expert on the subject they are representing, yet all three claim to be that (expert) person.
To try and determine the identity of the “real person” a panel of celebrities are given clues that represents only one of the contestants, the real person. The celebrities would ask each contestant questions to try and determine who the “real person” is according to the clues they are given.
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Each panelist would answer questions as if they were the “real” person. Of course, two of them are imposters (lying) about their identity and one is telling the truth. Ironically, in the 1956 pilot, the show was called, “Nothing but the Truth”. At the end of the questioning period, the host would say, “Will the real (contestant’s name) please stand up?”
Herein lies the problem for Kelly and where the “bad ass” comes into play. When Kelly was at FOX News they began molding her “image” as more authoritative, not just in behavior (asking the tough questions) but also the look. For example, she wore a lot of black and went from long hair to short hair. Long hair and lighter colors are more approachable by nature and shorter hair and darker colors are more authoritative.
Nothing wrong with that; however, was Kelly modifying her look to get her message across and position herself as an authority of the subject at hand, or was she putting on a face/image that was not really her and playing a role? Which is she?
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Now at NBC, she has dropped all that hard-nosed image and is wearing more feminine, softer style and colors of clothing, and the long hair is back. She is appealing to the housewives who watch her in the morning hours with a more approachable look and feel. But is she, “really”?
You can read various reports about her personality beyond the scenes, and who knows if they are true are not, but her ratings are down, and she might be out the door soon. Would you care, if you were being paid 69 million dollars? Perhaps she can start her own network like Oprah. Or go off into the sunset and never be seen again. But this article is really NOT about Kelly. It’s about you.
Are you presenting an authentic brand to your “public”? Is what others see is what they get, or are you trying to be something you are not and feel that you are being an imposter every day you walk through those office doors.
Being authentic does not mean that you can be and say what you want, when you want. If we could, we would all be doing it! And it certainly doesn’t mean that you must tell everyone everything about you. It does mean; however, that you must build a brand around what you value and who you are. And take that “self” and align it with how you package and position your brand to others.
There are times that you need to be more authoritative and times you need to be more approachable. This does mean that you change who you are, it simply means that you adjust things to set-the-tone for what you want.
We have a program called, “Perception IDentity™”. It helps one determine if they are more authoritative or approachable by nature. This identity is determined by one’s physical characteristics and body language. Remember, that perceptions are formed by lack of knowledge or experience. Once one experiences you; a handshake, voice tone or ongoing conversation, oftentimes that perception becomes the reality of who you are.
Know that this perception can remain a reality (the same) or it might shift. Regardless, how one perceives you is who you are to them and is how they will interact with you. The question is this, are you simply modifying your look and behavior to position your brand in a positive light, or are you masking who you really are to accommodate the environment in which you work? Which do you think is a solid foundation for a career?
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Back to Kelly. We are all confused because she didn’t simply modify things to create or enhance her image, she actually has presented two different people to the world. The question is, who is she? The other question is that if someone said to you, “Will the real (your name) please stand up? Who would that person be?
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