Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand?
Most people associate brands with companies, services or products– but don’t always stop to think about their personal brand let alone how to build it.
This is a guest post from Jonathan Green.
“Jonathan is a culture evangelist who focuses on leadership development behaviors and communications strategies. His expertise is service models that provide world-class experience. He has worked in a variety of verticals including Finance, Utilities, Tech, and Telecom. Green has spent the last seven years working for a large Telecom provider and thoroughly enjoys the fast paced and ever-changing environment. Check out his blog at monsterleaders.com“
As individuals, we actually have much more at stake as our brand is being observed, assessed and judged on a regular basis. In my work with young leaders, I carve out time out to help them consider their brand and to be deliberate about enhancing promoting it. The key is simplicity. Break it down into manageable parts.
1 – Image
2 – Behaviors
3 – Attitude
I usually start by relating the personal branding process to one of two topics that most of us have dealt with at one time or another: dating and cereal.
Consider the following:
When you go on a first date, what are you looking to teach your date about you?
… that your baggage is not as severe as that of her last boyfriend/girlfriend?
… that your brain functions at a normal capacity?
… that your hygiene practices are in line with conventional societal norms?
… that you are the kind of person they would want to live with until the end of time?
Your BRAND is on the line, and you are selling it. Your image is a mix of who you actually are and who you want the other person to believe you are. You don’t start a conversation with the worst decisions you have made in your life as you do not want to be defined by those. However, those are part of who you are, they are the scars and stripes that you carry with you all the time. So is your image true to yourself? Do your behaviors match your desired outcome? And most important, you have a choice in what attitudes you bring to the table is your attitude one that others want to subject themselves to?
Now, Mix in Cereal
Another way to look at it is to think of yourself as a brand of cereal.
Is it good for you? (do others want to be around you?)
Do you like the taste (do others enjoy talking to you, learning from you, sharing experiences with you?)
Is it made by a company that is safe and reputable (can you be trusted, do your behaviors build relationships?)
Some Easy Steps to get started
1. Ask yourself some questions
– How do I want to be viewed?
– What words do I want others to use to describe me?
– What words best describe the ideal me: reliable? intelligent? upbeat?…?
2. Reverse engineer your brand
– what behaviors must I exhibit to be viewed in this way?
– with whom should I be involved?
– where should I hang out?
3. Check it
– Do my behaviors reinforce my desired brand?
– What words are being used to describe me?
4. Who is promoting your brand?
– who is selling your brand, to whom and where?
– recruit some “sales people”
Encouraging young leaders to consider these questions can help set the stage for important inner dialogue and external changes. I have found that this work leads to amazing development, growth and a future driven by behaviors that matter.