If I was given a single line to sum up my personal brand, I’d say “Bill is the face of competitive running and track & field in the Peace Country.”
A strong brand is developed over time. In my case, lifelong involvement in the sport as an athlete, coach, and organizer, and 20+ years residency in Grande Prairie have helped established my brand. Other key components in building this brand have included coaching at Grande Prairie Regional College and local high schools, establishing and operating an online running coaching business, writing a twice monthly newspaper column, organizing dozens of meets and races, and conducting PD sessions for local educators. When the media needs a comment from a local expert in my area of expertise, I’m the go-to contact.
Apart from the “role” component of my brand, I bring three distinct personal characteristics to my brand. First, I’m passionate and enthusiastic about my sport. When I’m talking about my sport, I portray that I genuinely love what I do. Second, I have a dry sense of humour; I try to see the humour in most situations – this can sometimes backfire, though. Third, I can come across as blunt, even abrasive at times. I’m not afraid to call people out when the situation warrants it.
I think the concept of personal branding is important in Social Media, but you always have to balance any purposefully manufactured persona with authenticity. Someone once told me, “Don’t be afraid to show your warts in Social Media.” At the end of the day, authenticity is what makes Social Media such a powerful tool.