Today on our virtual blog tour, we’re taking a blog from my past called “Building a Bridge from the Past to the Future.” Here’s the blog! I hope you enjoy!
Building a Bridge from the Past to the Future
I often talk to people about how to strengthen their personal brand, and one of the concepts that people find most helpful is the concept of building a bridge from where you are to where you want to be. This is very empowering to people, and they begin to see how to use their current situations/skillset/experience base as a launching pad to where they want to be. Apple didn’t start with the iPod; they started in personal computing. LEGO started by selling wooden toys, and BMW started with airplane engines. In each case we can look back on the history of each and see the path that has led them to where they are now, that at the time the path may not have been so clear. In each case, adversity has propelled reinvention and innovation.
After World War I, the German company BWM (Bavarian Motor Works) was prohibited from building airplane engines and logically turned to motorcycles and then cars, building its reputation and engineering excellence.
The iPod was developed from a base of Apple’s heritage of simplicity and edgy innovation, and a history of devastating factory fires that surely influenced LEGO executives to embrace plastic alternatives for its interlocking brick even in the face of early opposition to plastic toys.
What would be the logical path to your reinvention? Those who can see the path that others can’t see get to their destination most quickly. If you want to do something different, you need to create that vision for others, help them see how your past is a stepping stone to the future you are trying to create. In other words, help them see the bridge from here to there.
This works both for corporate branding as well as personal branding. For example,the other day I was giving a talk about personal branding, and one of the participants wanted to move into doing more public relations work and grant writing. She had just started transitioning from her former life as a reporter. She felt at a competitive disadvantage by not having years and years of experience as a Public Relations professional. While certainly she should be looking to add new skills and PR “tricks of the trade,” my counsel to her was not to apologize for her background as a reporter. As a matter of fact, it is exactly that which made her unique. Because of her background as a reporter, she approached public relations challenges with a reporter’s sense of “what’s the story” that some public relations professionals miss. Guaranteed, her clients will benefit and get more exposure from utilizing the reporters’ skill set that this woman brought to her work. That which she saw as an obstacle was really an opportunity.