Originally published in SmartCompany.com.au by Lisa Stephenson
Here’s the bottom line up front: you are your brand, and it’s a good idea to know what people are saying and feeling when your name is mentioned. There is nothing complicated about it.
Your brand is what it looks like and feels like to be around you, there’s no need to run off and research this one. What is absolutely critical is an understanding that your brand is directly linked to your career progression, salary and reputation. We live in a complex and fast-paced world where our brains can barely process the data we receive in any given day. We know some people are feeling busy to the extent that they can’t sleep at night.
Despite the rate at which we work and evolve, one thing will never change, and that is how you behave, perform and make people feel, determines how successful you are in all elements of your life.
We have always been aware of organisations focusing on their brand. We could all list business names that we know and love. We could also likely describe their logo and products: Nike, Google and Coca-Cola are obvious examples; you couldn’t think of Lego without the bright colours popping into your mind; you could probably have a good go at drawing that blue bubble that appears around the skype logo; but would you know the three words most people would use to describe you?
What do you want to be famous for?
Every day you are communicating your values, beliefs and goals to the people around you. They are watching you, even when you don’t think they are. They are talking about you even though you might not hear what they say. The decisions you make, and the way you handle challenges, creates your personal brand story.
So, to help you manage your personal brand, here are 10 things to think about:
- Seek external feedback – Asking others, ‘what’s it like being around me?’ is one of the most important questions you can ask when it comes to determining your brand.
- Identify your strengths – Your uniqueness and strengths are your greatest currency. Make sure you are clear about where you add value and what you are awesome at.
- Collaborate – Identify opportunities to work with others so you can learn, but also give them an experience of you.
- Contribute – Look for ways to support others with their career, projects and brand. Investing in other people’s success is always a good idea.
- Communicate – tell others about yourself. Celebrate and communicate your activities. You can be humble while sharing what you are working on.
- Design a strategy – Be deliberate and specific when it comes to what you want to achieve with your brand. Write down what you want to be known for, and your plan for making that happen.
- Be consistent – Adults like to know where they stand and what to expect. When you do what you say you will do, people will trust you and what you stand for.
- Self-awareness is king – Always be looking for ways to learn about yourself. Don’t just look for evidence to make yourself right. Have real and ongoing conversations with people from all aspects of your life.
- Own all of it – This means saying sorry when you get it wrong. Take responsibility for your role in the team and be authentic when you do it. People do actually appreciate those who know when they’ve got it wrong.
- Engage a mentor – Find someone who has a personal brand that you respect. Ask them to spend some time with you exploring their greatest learnings.
In every meeting, sales pitch and email, you are saying something about who you are. Consciously choose your personal brand and watch the benefits flow. If you don’t like your current brand, you can absolutely start to change it today. If you’re proud of your brand, consider how you can leverage it to create your most successful life.