Do you say it and then do it? Are you someone who quickly agrees to something and then realizes that you don’t have the time to do the task or it might not be to the best quality? Is consistency in your values? Have you enthusiastically supported something but then the passion for it wanes away over time? What is the result? How does this impact what people think of you (and do you care what people think?) and how is this related to your brand? A product or service has a brand, it is the identity that we associate with it and this is no different than your personal brand. You have a brand that you may or may not be aware of. It grows and establishes without your control if you don’t lead it.
Personal branding is so important. It identifies how people perceive you and how they feel about your capacity and abilities. You provide the foundation but others create the impact it can have. Think of a corner store that sells groceries, has an ATM, lottery tickets, stationary fax and fried chicken (and we have all seen these types of businesses). They really don’t have an identity and try to be everything to everyone. If you walked in looking for flip flops, they might not have it today but they will tomorrow because you asked for it. Then take a Starbucks, their identity is coffee, tea and related items. You know who they are. You don’t walk into a Starbucks looking for flip flops because their identity is obvious. There is a strong need to make sure your brand is well established and easy to recognize like Starbucks.
If you have an idea or product, people are more likely to invest in you than your idea. What this means is that I can work with you to develop an idea that is not the best because your brand is solid over trying to work with a great product but someone who lacks a good brand. The person with the great brand is someone who has the qualities and traits that can lead to greatness. That person can offer consistency while the other can not. Do people want to work with you and know what they will get if they work with you?
Speaking recently at a conference, I shared the importance of your personal brand. What do others think of your brand and is there brand alignment between who you think you are and what others think of you. Do you even know what your brand is? We are so busy doing, we don’t realize that we have started to establish or support our brand that is out there. Think of it this way, there are two things we hold, character and reputation. Character is who we are and reputation is what people know us to be. One leads to the other and vice versa. Without your awareness, people are drawn to you or deterred from working with you because of your reputation.
So how can I build a brand that others will appreciate?
• Get to know what your brand is first and foremost. Do an evaluation and ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses. Then take time to ask others about your brand and see if there is alignment or not.
• Pick five words that you feel are reflective of you. Are the five words you chose a positive view of you and do you adhere to those five words? Or are the five words where you would like to be in the future.
• Look at what you have undertaken. Do you complete the task to the best of your ability? If not, where are you not completing the task?
• Pick a few things that you can do well as opposed to trying to do everything. This also applies to making commitments. By doing a few things very well, people will see quality.
• Select a quote or make up a quote that is reflective of you and then live it. Put it at the end of your email, on your business card or anywhere else. Let others know about your quote so that it becomes part of you. Mine is: “Everyone’s life is an autobiography…make yours worth reading.” And people know that it is about building your personal story and always striving to make a difference.
• Align yourself to people who have a brand that you respect and admire and be in their presence and company. Learn from them. By your association other will start to associate you with them…but the trick is that you first need a brand like theirs so they will be with you
• Rather than saying yes or no to something and then not fully committing to it, you tell the person, “I will do it but here is what I can commit to’, and then stick to it or over deliver on this.
• Consistency is critical. You must be what you portray yourself to be. Your brand is established over time.
Take this into account and you will shape your brand as opposed to others shaping it for you. You direct it and control it. Your brand is your business…make it a good one!
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