When you think of building a brand, you probably think of a product or a business. Successful branding will immediately give you a feeling; one of quality, reliability, and sustainability.
When people think of you, do they have those same feelings?
Whether you are building a business or in a career, your personal brand is under scrutiny every day. Your actions, promises, deeds, and presentation all contribute to determine if your brand is helping you or hurting you. Some of the areas I’ll explore will look like a checklist from the Boy Scout Handbook, and maybe for good reason.
Do you make promises, agreements, or commitments and see them through, even if it turns out to be disadvantageous in after thought? If you do, then congratulations, you are a “man of your word” and someone I want to know. If you don’t, you might see some short-term gain, but that will probably not happen again, at least not with me.
Integrity is unwavering. It means you know what you are getting. Like a can of Coke or a trip to a McDonald’s or Starbucks, the experience will be the same no matter where you are.
Lack of integrity is probably the quickest way to kill your brand if you make this a common occurrence. Lack of integrity is a cancer that will affect all aspects of a person’s life, and not just business. It is a reflection of poor character. If this describes you, change immediately!
This is an area in which I need some improvement on, but nonetheless an important character trait. Like a captain of a ship, people want to follow consistency. They want someone who responds equally in all emergencies or situations. People get nervous around people who over react or are emotional in times of crisis. If not to follow, you want a person with consistent self-control at least on your team.
Someone who “yells fire” or “abandon ship,” in even the smallest adversities, is not a positive contributing force. I call it the “Henny-Penny Affect” (the sky is falling). When you are feeling panicked…take a deep breath, and count to ten before reacting. Once it comes out of your mouth it is no longer yours. The sun will still probably come out in the morning.
As my father used to say, “It’s good to be King.” Obviously we can’t all be Mark Zuckerberg, where it doesn’t really matter how we present ourselves. In addition, I am not suggesting that anyone should be a conformist, as I certainly am not.
I am not saying that you need to live in business attire, nor be a “church mouse.” I am saying there is a certain amount of common sense and decorum that needs to go into situations and a right and wrong place to wear or do certain things. Flip flops to a non-beach meeting is the wrong message. The saying “first impressions are everything” applies here, and if you insist on wearing those flip-flops, earring and shorts to the meeting, or having a few too many at the company Christmas party, then you better own the best product in the world.
Ok, you went to a great university or you have worked hard in various jobs from the ground up. Maybe you have done both. You have done internships, joined clubs, and maybe worked for nothing. Just so you know, the world does not owe you a living! So what goes into a great “human resource product?” That person (in my opinion) is:
- Hard working
- Can get the job done
- Is proactive
- Is resourceful
- Is a problem-solver
- Can perform autonomously, without excessive oversight
I think these all can be included, but it doesn’t stop there. As in physical products, research and development must be on going. The best platforms in the world are constantly being improved.
Physicians are required to do continuing education. Did the human body change in 5,000 years? No! Advancements in drugs, discoveries and new techniques have. If required of physicians, then why not every other profession? I urge you to take classes, go to seminars, learn another language, educate yourself on another aspect of your business or industry; even travel opens a person’s mind. In short, never stand still. We are all always under construction.
The winners, or in this case, the winning and desired brand will not stop. These people realize that even the best can get better. They will constantly climb the mountain, knowing that the top won’t ever come.
I challenge you to build your personal brand.