As William Shakespeare once wrote in Hamlet (I, 5), “We know what we are but know not what we may be.”

We live in a world where image and reputation are everything, especially if you are a business leader. It starts at the beginning of your career, where social media is gradually built to define our personal brand, in the best and worst of ways. Then, as you transform into a successful entrepreneur, your brand becomes everything. It defines your work, leadership, partnerships, and customer relationships from every angle.

In fact, the Harvard Business Review and PR Newswire found that customers that feel fully connected to your brand are over 50 percent more valuable than satisfied customers and emotionally connected customers have a 306% higher lifetime value.

No matter what stage your are in in career, these essential and captivating books will help you reevaluate and redefine your personal brand for the new year.

1. Anthony Butler – Primal Storytelling

Humans by nature are drawn to the primal imagery of storytelling. The visuals passed on through social media and poignant words read in a good book, naturally captures human attention.

Anthony Butler’s Primal Storytelling uses vivid and gripping stories of a fire in Montana, traveling the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, and the tale of how his digital content globally competed with 1.5 billion other websites.

Butler uses these stories and his cutting-edge Primal Storytelling content system to teach readers how to create high-quality digital content that outperforms competitors and allows you to build authentic connections with your audience. Finding a voice that penetrates the vastness of our digital realm and will allow your messages to capture their target audience is a critical skill for building your brand.

2. Mila Grigg – Forged by Fire

Everyone has an enduring story to tell and incomparable value to share with the world. The question is, “How are you going to share your story — and value — with the world? When everyone else tries to separate personal passion from professional drive, how do you demonstrate that your brand doesn’t represent you — it is you?”

As a nationally recognized brand consultant and author of Forged by Fire, Mila Grigg tells her own story of resilience and restoration, and shares how to craft an unshakeable foundation of core values, purpose, and comparable experience that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Whether you are just beginning your career or are a Fortune 100 entrepreneur, consider this book your brand bible and definite resource for showing the world what you are capable of and what you are worth. Learning to differentiate your brand from an endless sea of competitors will help you communicate messages that accord with who you are…and who you are not.

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3. Kurt Davis – Navigate to the Lighthouse

As a startup entrepreneur, having lighthouse customers quickly embrace your service or product can have a huge indication of the company’s ultimate success. The same can be said for other ‘early adopters’ of your business, whether they are angel investors or international partners.

With over two decades of experience as a top technology executive that has made a career out of building successful tech startups throughout Silicon Valley, Europe, and Asia — Kurt Davis is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to executing global deals.

In his second book, Navigate to the Lighthouse, Davis takes readers on a journey in mastering how to execute a lighthouse deal to catapult your startup and establish an enduring business. By the end of the process, you’ll be able to confidently answer two important questions: Should I invest the time and resources to pursue what seems like impossible deals? If so, what’s the path to get there — strategically and tactically? Effective branding becomes possible only after you’ve learned how to sift the best opportunities from the ‘merely good’ ones.

4. Brian Slade – Cleared Hot

Former Commander with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, Brian Slade, is no stranger to the unforgiving traumas of life, love, and leadership. His new book, Cleared Hot, provides an inside look into the life-changing lessons he learned while serving in Afghanistan and a deeper look into why he believes a prepared mind can help soldiers prevent PTSD.

From a closer look at the spirit needed to navigate the ugliness of combat to learning to cope with the challenges of love and marriage, Cleared Hot provides readers with an exhilarating experience and the devices necessary to endure the sufferings and shocks of their own lives. As a result, becoming more resilient and effective leaders in life and business.

Many brand-builders start out with a Plan A and are content to leave it at that. When the unforeseen and unexpected take place the disruption might even derail entirely a worthwhile endeavor. Slade can help brands minimize the impact of unplanned difficulties by going in prepared for setbacks.

5. Daniel Cleland – 12 Laws of the Jungle

The Covid-19 pandemic left countless entrepreneurs and business leaders stranded in an unforgiving jungle of uncertainty and competitive wits. Daniel Cleland, the CEO of Soltara Healing Center, was one of many that suddenly saw their seven-figure startup business racing against time and struggling to survive in 2020.

12 Laws of the Jungle tells the story of how the man known as “The Indiana Jones of Entrepreneurship” was able to hack through the jungle to survive during the global lockdown and reveals the primal laws of entrepreneurial survival that he followed to prevent extinction.

While you may not view your online business branding as a ‘jungle,’ the plain fact is that there are at least thousands of brands in the global marketplace competing for the same customers in your niche. Agility and an ability to improvise will serve any brand-builder well as they adapt to changing conditions.

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