When it comes to making an impression in people’s hearts and minds, are you a hot spark or a slow burn? This is a topic Kathleen and I have talked about lots of times in the past. We’ve actually called it “fast burn” versus “slow burn” in our conversations – and I suppose it’s a type of people-chemistry. It applies to your relationships with friends, acquaintances, and in the case of being in business for yourself, it applies to your personal brand.
I have always considered Kathleen’s style as a hot spark (rather than a fast burn, which implies something that dies out.) A hot spark makes a quick brilliant flash of an impression with the potential to turn into something more. The point is, that the flash is what gets your attention, burns into your retinas, and makes you memorable.
I’m going to go out on a limb and make an assumption here. I think Kathleen and I will discover next week, when our Braid ECourse: Personal Branding begins, that most of the enrollees are cultivating their personal brand because of a specific interest in blogging, and a desire to convey their personal + professional selves in the most memorable way. I would venture even further to guess that many of them (and you) are already “hot sparks.”
I, on the other hand, am a slow burn. Yes, being aware that I’m portraying a consistent personal brand is partly about my online persona since I am actively writing to you here, blogging on Braid Creative, and sharing a lot of myself and my experience with an online audience. But where I feel like my personal brand comes the most into play, as it does with so many slow burns, is in the way I work with others, how they remember me over time, and then become “loyal fans” based on that experience.
“But anyone can make an impression over time, based on back-and-forth experience!” you say (okay, I say). “That doesn’t apply when making a first impression!” (you and I both conclude). And that’s what the crux of this letter is about. How are you making yourself memorable in a short time span – like in a prospective client chat or in the first blog post someone reads by you – if you’re a slow burn? For that matter, if you’re of the bright-and-instantaneous hot spark persuasion, how do you avoid being just a flash in the pan?
How to Sustain The Spark & Speed Up The Slow Burn
Okay, this subhead cracks me up and gives me the creeps at the same time, because up until just this week, as a matter of fact, we’ve been listening to the free version of Spotify in our office. Which means our music is interrupted by an ad every ten minutes or so. And this one advertisement comes up at least twice an hour, for some enhancement cream or some such product, in this Guy Smiley radio-announcer voice – to “speed her up... and slow him down.” Needless to say, after hearing this ad for the fiftieth time we finally just took the time to subscribe to the ten dollar a month no-ad version of Spotify.
But obviously it crept into my subconscious. Sorry. Here’s what I actually mean:
Hot Sparks Tend To:
• Create Bold Statements (visual & verbal)
• Make Quick Decisions (perhaps results are varying, but the act of taking charge in itself is awesome and appreciated)
Making The Spark Last Over Time By Being Consistent:
Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep making bold statements with your style of clothes and your say-what-you-mean statements. Just do it consistently. From clothes to copy, the statements will change along with the opinion and styles, but keep making them loud, clear and in your voice. Be known for being a decision-maker! Everyone knows that not every decision is always going to end up just-right. Your results might not always be reliable, but people will still rely on you to be the person gutsy enough to make the call.
Slow Burns Typically:
• Create Sense Out of Chaos (methodically build stories & connect the dots)
• Take Rational Steps (perhaps waters down the instant impact, but decisions are always thoughtful and well-rounded)
Speed Up The Burn By Embracing Your Character
Who is going to be “wowed” by process and methodology? Well, you’d be surprised. If you can present your rational, logical approach in a lively, colorful way either in conversation or through writing or images it will be memorable. It may not be a “wow-pow” like with the hot sparks, but you will draw them in all the same. As long as you inject personality. For me, that’s storytelling and humor paired with a “here-are-the-steps” approach. I can actually say to someone “I’m a process-oriented person, but I also tell really amazing stories.” I have also worked with some uber-geeks who have seriously won over the hearts and minds of others in just a five minute presentation, or first-meet, or blog post, just by embracing their geekiness and speaking in earnest about what they really know.
Which are you, a hot spark or a slow burn? Tell us on Facebook.
And, if you haven’t checked out our Braid ECourse: Personal Branding Blending Who You Are With What You Do, starting October 29th, there are still a just few more days to enroll. (Okay, let me rephrase, if you are hot-sparky you probably clicked on it the moment you saw the words “personal brand.” But you slow-burners might weigh the rational pro’s and con’s of taking this ECourse and learning more.)