2 Reasons You Need a “Brand You”

Differentiate Your self

Brand You

Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, Bernie Madoff. What comes to mind when you read their names? What about Muhammad Ali, Lady Gaga or Donald Trump? Or Arnold Palmer, Tom Hanks, Jack Welch?

Which one would you invite to dinner; be your business partner; be a role model for your kids; rely on as a friend?

It is easy to pick out a couple of each trio’s brand attributes.

    Group 1: “What were you thinking!!”
    Group 2: “over-the-top, in-your-face”.
    Group 3: “highly competent, down-to-earth”.

A brand sets an expectation.That expectation can determine the commercial success or failure of that product, service or person. The perception of you by your peers, employees, bosses and clients impacts your productivity, effectiveness and career advancement. Your perception of your leadership style, value, and contribution mean little if it is not shared by your critical constituents. For example have you ever heard “Sure, Tom really puts in the hours but he doesn’t work smart.” or “He micro manages and doesn’t think big picture” or “He’s good strategically but he doesn’t execute well” or “He’s gets it done but he provides no motivation”.

Perception is reality

These statements may or may not be accurate, they may have been true in a unique context, with a specific person, or at some time in the past. However, perception is reality. Would these perceptions help you land that new role or promotion? Chances are you may not even know of these concerns.

A brand is not just a marketing ploy to get you to buy my cola or eat my hamburger. It’s not just self promotion and glory seeking. A brand provides criteria to help you make a buying decision that will deliver the value you are expecting. Whether you are buying a boat, booking a vacation, or hiring a new executive, your perception of the brand influences your decision. Sometimes subconsciously.

If you don’t identify your brand then others will decide it for you…. and you may not like it.

A Brand Delivers Value to You and to Others

  • Firstly, a Brand is a promise and creates confidence in making a specific choice. With a known brand there is an expectation of the product, service and price. If you know what to expect and trust it, it is easier, quicker and safer to make a decision. A brand removes ambiguity. To a certain extent it’s like a safety net. Remember the old saying “No one ever got fired for choosing IBM”? That’s a brand at work. It was more than just the product. It was everything that went with it. It was a feeling.

    Have you ever had some one recommend a restaurant and when you tried it the food wasn’t great or the service sucked? How did you feel about that restaurant? How did you feel about your friend’s judgment regarding restaurants? You would probably have to eat in a number of others that he thought were good before you would trust his recommendations again.

    Similarly, your peers, employees, bosses, board members and customers have an expectation of you as a leader based on feedback from others and their own experiences (maybe limited) with you. Their expectation of your brand will impact their actions and behaviors and the effectiveness of your organization. Will their perspective match yours?

  • Secondly, a Brand gives you power. It informs your actions and behaviors. Your brand reflects who you are and what you value most. It is based on your strengths, skills, talents, personality, goals, likes and dislikes. Your brand makes it easier to make decisions and respond quickly to opportunities and problems. It allows you to operate from a foundation of authenticity. This means you will be able to act decisively from a position of strength and with confidence knowing that you are aligned with what is important to you…..professionally and personally. It also means that your constituents will readily recognize your positive leadership characteristics and respond accordingly.

This is not about blowing your own horn. We’ve all experienced those people who must have sore arms from patting themselves on the back; who work really well upwards; and oft times not so well downwards or across. However, we sometimes take for granted that others see us the way we see ourselves. Maybe they don’t, but then again, they may see some things that we need to change. Next we will explore the steps in building a brand.

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  1. It’s Your Brand. It’s Your Future!

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