Many people can instantly recognise the big brands and what they stand for. I am a big fan of Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership. Their ‘never knowingly undersold: on quality, service and price’ slogan, products that will endure, their employee- owned business ethos and the way they treat their suppliers and customers fits in with my own values and principles. I had never shopped at Primark (not because I am too old and not fashion conscious!) but their cheap, low price, high volume sales, “Look Good, Pay Less” ethos just does not fit in with my own values and beliefs.
People are no different. Take Richard Branson for example. As a person, he is recognized for his entrepreneurial flair, as an explorer, a risk taker, for his antics such as dressing up as a bride to publicize Virgin Bride, not dressed at all when publicising his book, Virginity, his unconventional non CEO business attire….
Likewise, YOU are a brand. When others talk about you or mention your name, there will be a number of characteristics, qualities, attributes and values that people relate with you. Do you know what they are? Do you know how you are perceived by others? What do people say about you when you are not present? What are you known for?
There is some truth in the saying, ‘people buy people’. They are buying into your brand – your values, beliefs, reputation, behaviour and all the things that make you YOU. Unearthing and managing your brand puts you in control of how others see you, enables you to manage those perceptions authentically and help to differentiate yourself from a crowded market place.
Here are some simple things that you can do build to unearth and start building your brand:
Discover your brand
Do you know how others perceive you? Ask your close friends, family, trusted colleagues for an honest assessment. For example: what do I need to do more of, less of, continue doing?
Do how others see you match the way that you see yourself? Is there a gap? Do people see the ‘real’ you? Think about how you can manage perceptions so that it is authentic to you. So that what is ‘on the outside’ is congruent with what is on ‘the inside’.
Discover what you sound like
Record a message on your phone and play it back. Does it sound professional? Is the tone, volume and pitch right for your image? When we are nervous we tend to talk too fast… slow it down. Is your voice engaging and warm? Is the content of what you say demonstrating your professional, technical experience and knowledge…?
Do you look the part?
Styling and clothes are a package of your brand. Does what you wear reflect your brand, your personality and is appropriate for your target audience? Stand in front of the mirror and undertake an honest appraisal of yourself. Take some pictures of you at work over a week and appraise them. Ask others to give you feedback.
Does your target market know who you are?
There is no point in developing a brand if it is not visible. Use your brand all the time, every time and keep it consistent. Use it in your stationary, your correspondence, your messages and emails. Increase your visibility through blogging, public speaking, volunteering, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook….
How do you shape, manage and update your brand?