Nike has the “Swoosh”, which represents speed, movement, power, and motivation, and Evernote, an app that stores your written notes on a laptop, uses the figure of an elephant’s head, because “an elephant never forgets, and you won’t either utilizing this app. (Economics Times, July 24, 2017)
Products aren’t the only entities that have brands. Everyone has a brand, whether you know it or not. The troubling aspect of your brand is that it is not just who you think you are, but also who others think you are due to your words, actions, and body language. Frequently, what you think and what others perceive is different, because, like nature, the brain hates a vacuum. If a person’s perception is unclear, they will fill in the blanks and define your brand for you. In other words, if you don’t control your brand; others will manage it for you.
The critical thing to remember is that people’s perception is your reality, and how well you tell your story will determine how successful you are. The clearer, consistent, and transparent your brand is, the better your colleagues, friends, and the community at large will know and understand who you are and your capabilities.
The first step in perfecting your brand is succinctly communicating what you want others to know about you and the value you bring.
Below are six actions you can take:
- Determine what problems you solve. For example, you are the “go-to” person to lead large projects because you can determine and manage all the project’s aspects and align them in the most productive configuration.
- Create a list of words you believe describe you, such as patient, good listener, collaborator, analytical.
- Ask friends and colleagues for a list of three words that come up for them when they think of your name, even if unfavorable. Do NOT berate them for words you feel do not represent you. Their honesty is a gift that you can use to work on areas that need to be polished.
- I recommend taking the StrengthFinder’s 2.0 Assessment, to determine your top five strengths that are always evident no matter what you do. The online assessment at https://bit.ly/2IpbKcw is available for a nominal fee. If you believe you are a good leader, this assessment will break down what strengths you have that support that belief.
- Ask yourself what you like doing. I think that “finding your passion” can be over-rated. Finding what you prefer doing is much more realistic and doable. In every job, there are tasks we enjoy doing, and those we would prefer not performing. In one column, write a list of what you like doing in your job and don’t like doing in another column. Look for opportunities to do more of what you want (so that you become known in those areas), and less of what you don’t like.
- Google your digital presence. Are there any instances where you may show up negatively? Check all your social media. Employers and recruiters google candidates as part of their vetting process. You would be surprised what can show up from years before!
Business is so fast-paced that it is easy to forget who you are and how you show up. By following these six steps, you will be able to shape your story where what you want people to know about you and what they perceive is the same!
Next month, I will write about “Packaging” your story (brand) clearly and consistently, and, lastly, “Telling” your story so that it is memorable.
You can also go to https://executivepotentialplus.com/publications/ for a copy of “What Are They Thinking, Branding I. Inc.”, rather than waiting for the next installment.