Sunday, March 12, 2006

Curious about Personality - What’s Yours? Do You Use It to Advantage?

You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.” - David Ogilvy

Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.” - Elmer G. Letterman

In an excellent e-mail I received today, the question was posed, “What are you known for? What's your brand? What do you stand for? What hill are you the King or Queen of? What's your memorable "hook" or specialty or claim to fame?” - David Newman and Steven Rowell

In last week’s blog, I discussed brand and the part of my brand that, “What I am known for” is being an encourager. I feel it is one of my strengths in all of my contacts with family, friends, peers and clients. The other that I said I would share with you this week is “personality.”

Thinking about personality, however, and reading the two quotations at the beginning of this article, there is a lot more to one’s personality than surface appearance. I realize that having an outgoing, friendly and winning personality is a help in the majority of our interactions with others, but I think that Elmer Letterman really hits the essence when he talks about character.

Someone’s character is not always evidenced by their personality, or as the advertising guru, David Ogilvy, refers to as ‘image.’

And, yet, W. Somerset Maugham writes and warns, “When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.”

As I read through an incredible number of quotations addressing personality, I reinforced my beliefs that personality does reflect what our inner beings are, how we feel about ourselves and most definitely how we feel about our lives and others.

Joan D. Vinge wrote, “We are all born with a unique genetic blueprint, which lays out the basic characteristics of our personality as well as our physical health and appearance. . . . And yet, we all know that life experiences do change us.”

Ah! A disclaimer! Just this past week, one of my favorite discussion lists held a lively conversation about Nature vs. Nurture. Personally, I don’t feel that one can separate the influences both have on us. One finds that there are great personalities that have come from both wonderful and terrible backgrounds. It is interesting to me to read about the number of wealthy and successful people who have faced bankruptcy, poverty, being fired from a job, and all sorts of failure in the past.

What did they learn from these life experiences and were their personalities changed? Heavy questions.

What is your personality? Have you taken the many behavior/personality tests that are in abundance on the Internet and are also used by Human Resources departments when hiring, firing and interviewing. I know many entrepreneurs who say that they could never work for anyone else. Is this because of their personalities or mindsets?

Confused about personality? Let me share a few of the many quotations I found that have succeeded in confusing me:
  • Different people bring out different aspects of ones personality.” - Trevor Dunn
  • What you have, what you are - your looks, your personality, your way of thinking - is unique. No one in the world is like you. So capitalize on it.” - Jack Lord
  • Positive feelings come from being honest about yourself and accepting your personality, and physical characteristics, warts and all; and, from belonging to a family that accepts you without question.” - Willard Scott
  • The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.” - Maxwell Maltz
  • We get criticized for showing no personality, then we get penalized when we do.” - Lindsay Davenport
  • A quiet personality sure isn't what you need to attract attention.” - Bill Budge

Enough already? I still want to leave you with two thought provoking quotations. The first is for those who never take action, whine, complain, and make excuses because of fear:

If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all his thinking, damages his personality, makes him landlord to a ghost.” - Lloyd C. Douglas. Is this ghost haunting you?

And, the second brings us all the way back and around to our discussion about brands, branding and ‘image:’

An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.” - Daniel J. Boorstin

Let me know what you think? I love hearing from you.