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The internet has always been a noisy place. Since the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country have been forced to turn online to capture their customers’ attention. So how are you supposed to make yourself and your business stand out amongst the noise? The answer lies in the story of your personal brand.


Miguel Paloma CEO of 4thRightMarketing

I sat down with Miguel Paloma of 4thRightMarketing to discuss how entrepreneurs can fuel their personal brand. Miguel, founder and CEO of 4thRightMarketing, focuses on getting people to tell their authentic stories by allowing themselves to be just a little bit vulnerable. His secret—focusing on two specific questions that make you truly unique, and you will be able to give anybody a reason to choose you over somebody else.

“I was attending an online masters program personal branding webinar and I was amazed at what these ‘gurus’ were focusing on. They were saying the basic things like you need a website and it has to have certain colors and popular music genres. I was sitting there, stunned, thinking to myself ‘nobody cares about this. My approach is going into the backstory, the backstory is where the real shit is. As humans, if there is an emotion that can attach us to a subject, then we are there for it. A backstory creates that emotional attachment.” 

Personal Branding Lessons from American Idol?
American Idol stage

“Personal branding is everywhere, it’s all around us. Look at everyday programming like American Idol or American Ninja Warrior. Have you ever noticed how they pick one person and dive deep into their backstory? What they are doing is really brilliant. They are getting the audience to form an emotional attachment with a contestant so the audience will keep tuning in every week to see how their story progresses.”

Two Questions to Create Emotional Attachment and Find Your Personal Brand

“I attended a job fair event at a local university where some students were giving their elevator pitch on stage. One student said, ‘I’m not an out-of-the-box thinker, I determine what goes in the box.’ This is what I mean by don’t get cute with it. People know immediately when they are being “sold”, so the traditional elevator pitch is immediately perceived as a selling line. By bringing your personal story into it, you can actually get people to lower their walls and receive your message.

So I met up with her after and asked her two questions. 1) Who would be the happiest to see you succeed? She said her mother. 2) Why? She said her parents came here from Mexico City and now own a florist shop on Archer Ave and that she feels like she’s continuing the legacy of her mother’s dream.

I said now what do you think somebody is going to remember? Your one-liner about putting things in boxes? No. They will remember the passion of your personal story. That’s what people are looking for. That’s how you get them to choose you.

Uncover Your Backstory For Yourself

Some people say that they don’t have an emotionally compelling backstory, but that’s not true. We all live within the personal narratives of our lives. So just imagine yourself as the hero of your story—what challenges have you had to overcome? What failures have you bounced back from? What mentors have you met along the way? Once you start reflecting on your personal backstory, you’ll be able to find pieces of your journey that can create those emotional attachments.

What is your personal branding story? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.