I’m a what; a brand?! I’m not talking about your company’s brand, but your own personal brand or image. Thinking of yourself as a brand empowers you to think bigger – to create a larger-than-life you who grows over time. Once you adopt this concept, your mindset and effectiveness magically change. You can develop an official mission statement, or think more holistically about what’s vital for your brand.
You’ll find a zillion definitions for brand and branding. It boils down to: what does your audience think of when they hear the name of a company, a product, service – or your personal name? It’s word association. What attributes, positive and negative, do they connect – either true or perceived. A “brand name” exists objectively; people can see it, it’s fixed. But your “brand” exists in someone’s mind.
The lack of a strong brand is just that; it’s weak and not memorable – or, can be negative.
Each individual can design and live the most important components to create his or her brand. Here are some elements I associate with a strong brand:
- Creativity and Innovation: This is the fun part for many people. But keeping fresh ideas flowing is challenging. It’s an art and a science. It takes constant effort and looking for ideas and inspiration everywhere – from watching kids play and taking long walks, to reading The Wall Street Journal and checking BuzzFeed. It’s always something different.
- EQ: While IQ and fundamental capabilities can certainly never be discounted, a lot has been published about emotional intelligence, or EQ, being even more crucial to success. EQ is all about who we are and the atmosphere we create – as well as how we relate to people and our interpersonal style. It fuels you to increase your network, develop relationships and build a circle of influence. Having strong EQ means you won’t likely be replaced by a robot or “autonomous communications.”
- Reputation: As Warren Buffet said, “It can take 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it.” Of course, everyone wants a good reputation. But how do you get one – and more importantly, keep it? A good reputation is like having money in the bank. You need it to insulate yourself from emergencies and build confidence. A good number of clients come to us proactively for a crisis plan or issue management. Others know they need to be prepared to deal with a major problem, but don’t believe it’s “that much of a concern right now.” That is a risky path.
Similarly, you need to safeguard your personal brand against disaster before a crisis hits. It’s easy to get complacent. No one wakes up saying, “today will be the day a client calls with a huge complaint,” but when that day arrives, the strength of your reputation is your best protection. Developing a reserve of goodwill can make all the difference and sustain you through the rainy days.
- Ongoing, Reliable Results: In my world, this is a brand necessity. You can always be counted on to deliver, on time, which means relentless hard work. You can’t be inconsistent. If you’re in charge of the envelopes for the Oscars, you check “best movie” twice – maybe three times – to make sure it’s right.
Great brands are constantly evolving; the people behind them make things happen. They never stop learning and seek out experts to help them stand out and become world class. So, batter up: why not hit your brand out of the park today.
Tell us, what’s in YOUR brand?