I was driving on 206 North this afternoon feeling a little nostagic about my first job when I was 13 at the old Newton Drive-In turned flea market turned Lowes. My how times have changed. Ironically enough, when I worked at the flea market for Eli Rapkin, we sold hardware tools and accessories. Somethings things get bigger but never change at all.
I was about to go through the little stone tunnel when I saw a very friendly older woman in her plastic white chair on the side of the road waving at each passing car. For many many years, her husband sat on that very same chair waving and smiling to all the cars and trucks. Sometimes for 3 hours a day and sometimes for 7 or more. His reputation grew and grew and soon the papers got a hold of his story and spread the word even further. He had no agenda. He had no interest in being in the press. He didn’t even expect money or gratitude. He was just a friendly retired gentleman that wanted everyone to know that life is about moments and peace and you should realize the wonders you have and embrace them.
He was a warm and gentle man who passed away a number of years ago but the chair remaind as a reminder of how he impacted so many lives without taking a step. Now his wife is carrying on his tradition with the same charm and hometown sincerity that we desperately need.
The magic of this story is that this very simple man discovered something that it took the internet, corporations, global expansion and hundreds of well paid consultants to figure out…the importance of a personal brand.
He looked at himself and created a very simple plan. Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, sit and wave. He harnessed that brand and over time that brand became a reputation. One of consistancy, warmth, dedication, commitment and community awareness. He revolutioned the idea of a personal brand without the internet, without a Google page, without Facebook, without a personal consultant and without dare I say Twitter. He reached his audience one wave at a time.
When you are looking to create a personal brand, look in the mirror, find out who you are and most importantly keep it simple.