Attributes of your Personal Brand

 

6. The Brand Called You (low res)

Your personal brand is composed of many attributes that help to define you. These attributes are partially how you see yourself and partially how you think others see you. Your thoughts and perceptions are ratified through the people you interact with or the consumers who come in contact with Brand You.

If you think of yourself as a brand, you are no different from anyone else who believes in leaving their name as a legacy in this world. A strong personal brand must have several attributes. The combination of physical form, your qualifications and your achievements are the skeleton, the flesh, blood and muscles of Brand You. These attributes coupled with your skills, intelligence and wisdom, is your persona.

Your persona, Brand You, will define how you will be perceived by your audience and in the rest of your world.

You need to consider the following eight attributes to understand and evaluate your personal brand and to understand how Brand You measures up against each. These attributes are as applicable to the brand of your company, your product, your service as they are to your personal brand.

  1. Relevance.

A strong brand must be relevant in the context of bridging customer expectations and supplier deliverables.

You need to be relevant for others if you expect them to give you a share of their already cluttered mind. How can you be relevant to someone?

Within a family or your circle of friends you could be relevant as the head of the family, the primary bread winner or a trusted member of the community. In an organisation, you could be a person who others can trust.

  1. Consistency.

Consistency in a brand is seen when you communicate your message in a way that does not deviate from the core brand proposition.

While our personal brand must always be seen to convey a consistent message, we are human beings and we will bring in our personal biases in our interactions. It is important to remember that what is consistent for someone could be completely inconsistent for someone else.

Do you change dramatically between times when you are happy and stressed? Think about whether your behaviour consistent in times of stress and whether you can be relied upon especially in times of stress?

The consistency of your persona is what others look for in you.

  1. Proper Positioning.

A strong brand should be positioned so that it makes a place in the mind of the target audience.

Each one of us believes we understand how we are being seen or perceived by others. We are always looking for a reinforcement of these beliefs in our interactions with others. Think of all the times you have looked at your friends and family for a tacit or express approval of your actions. You need to understand why your consumers should prefer Brand You over others.

Understanding and accepting where our perceptions differ from what we see, hear and experience is necessary for us to work on making changes in the perception of our brand.

  1. Sustainable.

A sustainable brand drives an organization towards innovation and success. A sustainable personal brand will survive in the long run.

Your personal brand has to be sustainable and ensure the consumer remains attracted to it over time, resulting in repeat purchase or repeat contact.

You, knowingly or unknowingly, keep sending out signals and impressions about yourself to the people and the World around you. These signals are both positive and negative.

  1. Credibility.

A strong brand must be credible. It needs to deliver all the attributes that it has promised.

The way you communicate your brand to your audience and your customers should be realistic. It should not fail or appear to fail to deliver what it promises. Do not exaggerate the attributes of Brand You or overstate the performance you can deliver. Your customers want to believe in the promises you make to them and do not want to be disappointed.

It is better to under promise and over deliver rather than the other way around.

  1. Inspirational.

A strong inspirational brand should transcend the category it is famous for.

When inspirational people speak, the audience listens with rapt attention. Their communication skills are outstanding. Many corporate leaders and political leaders are very inspirational speakers and have a very large following not just among their employees or their political parties but across boundaries of companies, parties and possibly across several countries.

The challenge most of them face on a regular basis is how to keep saying inspirational things to keep their brand value consistently high.

  1. Uniqueness.

A strong personal brand should be unique and different from competition. It should set you apart in a clear and unambiguous manner.

It is important for you to understand all the areas where you believe you are unique before you are able to leverage your uniqueness.

  1. Appealing.

A strong brand should be attractive and appealing.

Your appeal will have rational and emotional elements. There are people who talk down to you and make it known that they are superior to you. Do you find such people appealing to you in any way and would you make any effort to communicate with them?

How you choose to present your attributes will determine how your audience perceives you. Perception is what will drive the value of your brand leading to your acceptance or rejection from the community you choose to live in or be a part of.

The appealing characteristics of Brand You will always attract your audience as you work towards leaving your legacy.

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The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers. 

Watch our podcasts at www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com 

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Brand You. Who Me?

 

the brand called you

Personal branding is about deciding to take an active role in managing the direction you want to take your life. Your personal brand allows you to manage your life and helps you to stop depending on others for your credibility and your success.

Your personal brand helps you make the most of what you have to offer. Brand You is your reputation, built one story at a time through the experiences people have with you. These stories will reflect what makes you unique or different.

As you start your journey to evaluate Brand You and then develop a strategy to build and promote Brand You, here are some pointers of what you need to look at.

Be Yourself

You have to be yourself instead of trying to pretend someone you are not. It needs courage to be yourself and it takes conviction to stay the course.

The strategic process of personal branding makes you an active partner in creating the direction of your life. You get to decide what your unique promise of value is and who you want to share it with.

Be Credible

The stakeholders in your life are your family, your employers, your peers, your subordinates, your superiors, your community and everyone else who you have an impact on. They wish to know who you are and what you stand for. They want to know what you will do and whether what you will do is likely to be in line with their expectations of you.

You build credibility not through your words but through your actions. Your actions lead to creation of perceptions. If you live your personal brand and keep your brand promise to your stakeholders, you are on the path to building a strong credibility for yourself.

Your actions will have to align with your brand. These actions will validate that you can be trusted and demonstrate that you are credible.

Be Confident

As your brand develops, your confidence will start to grow. When you recognise your positives, your self-esteem reaches an all-time high.

Keep in mind that strong and confident brands can repel your audience as much as it attracts them. Not everyone can be your target audience. Not everyone will like or agree with what you stand for. Defining who you are means that you need to be brave enough to let your true self be visible.

A confident Brand You will highlight your strengths and give you a meaningful direction.

Be Different

Differentiation is crucial to your personal branding success.

We notice differences among people very quickly. We are hard-wired to notice differences in one another. We do not have to be different for the sake of being different.

You need to be different. You need to present yourself differently.

When I was in college, I had grown my hair long, sported a beard and wore “bell-bottom” pants. This was my way of attempting to be different. It was then that my father called me and said, “You must get accepted in society because of your mind and not because of the clothes you wear or the way you comb your hair!”

This was a major lesson for me in “being different.”

Be Energetic

In today’s world, everyone is exceptionally busy and so are you.

Brand You will have the energy and the ability to filter what are the right opportunities for you and which opportunities you need to let pass by. Your brand will give you the clarity to focus your energy on matters that can be important for you.

An energetic Brand You will help you to reinvent yourself.

Be Special

You need to have a specialty or you need to develop an area of expertise. You cannot be better than others in everything. Think of what can you do that others cannot? Think of what can you do that is better than others? This could be at work where you may be the best analyst or the best accountant or the best designer. Or this could be at play where others want you on their team.

To develop a specialty, you have to start with what you know. Think of what you can do that few others know. What is the target audience that your specialty will appeal to? Are you willing to commit to investing personal time and resources to further this specialty?

It is not advisable to go down a path and after investing a lot of time and money, realise that you have made a mistake or that you are no longer enjoying this specialty.

Be Connected

You need to constantly connect and network with your audience. Your brand needs to build a strong relationships. You need to connect with the audience you have identified. You cannot communicate with the entire world. For your brand to be acknowledged and then accepted, you need to connect at an emotional level.

Building a strong personal brand helps you interact with your target audience in a clear and consistent way that quickly becomes comfortable and familiar. This consistency builds trust in your target audience, which allows those emotional connections to form.

Remember that you must not lose connections as you expand your network. The biggest mistake most people make is to forget the relationships they made at the early stages of their career..

Be Supportive and Supported

In your journey to create and build your brand, be supportive of others and seek out support from people. You need to be clear about who you are and what you need so that you can ask for support with clarity.

Most people want you to succeed. Very seldom will you find someone who wants you to fail and actively does things to harm you. If you know what you need, you know what to ask for.

Be Consistent

Just like you can never be static, nor can your brand. Consistency requires you to use the elements of your brand over and over again as you continue to evolve.

An important part of the branding process is to get known for something. Your first step is to identify your best characteristics so that you know what to build upon.

Do not be overly sensitive while dealing with people. Most of us constantly worry about our actions not because of how we are doing but because of “what others will think!” We never stop to think that everyone is busy with their own lives. Most people have too many problems and challenges of their own. They do not have the time to think of or worry about what you are saying or doing.

You have to develop yourself in a way to ensure that you leave a legacy. People will remember you through your actions, your expertise, and the emotional connections that you make.

So do your tough work up front and reap the rewards down the road.

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The author is an Executive Coach and an Angel Investor. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books, The Brand Called You; Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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The Brand Called YOU – Personal Branding

 

Branding is as old as humanity itself.

It was only in the later part of the 20th century that marketers and advertising experts started to understand that they could create a specific perception in the minds of their consumers for specific qualities and attributes of their products, which were so far only labelled with a name but existed as a generic product.

These experts started to call this “perception” a “brand.”

A brand is a story that is always being told.

Personal branding is about uncovering what is true and unique about yourself and letting everyone who matters know about it.

Your name, your brand has its own sphere of influence first with yourself, then with your family, then your community and then the larger society that you live in. Your brand must carry value within your own chosen sphere of influence.

As an individual, you are constantly reinventing yourself through each stage of your life. A brand is perceived by its target audience, based on personal experience, communication and impression.

This determines its success or failure. The same applies to each one of us. How we are perceived in society and with our “target audience” determines how valuable we are or can be. Your personal brand is your professional DNA. It is your professional gene sequence.

Every successful person has painstakingly built his or her own brand name.

Remember that your name is a brand that you truly own. You are unique. As unique as your fingerprint or your retina scan or your gene sequence.

A brand has been registered in your name, through your birth certificate and patented for your persona, through your deeds and investments, even though there may be hundreds of other individuals with the same name as you.

There is no one else in the World like you and therefore you need to invest in yourself, in your environment and in your deeds and actions to get your own brand known and respected. The greater your reach, the greater the investment that would be required by your brand. At the same time, the greater and more prominent your brand is, the more vulnerable will it become in future.

It becomes more and more critical for you to know that every step you take, every statement you make, every tweet you send, every photograph you post, every blog you write, every post you like, make or share, every interpretation you share, every opinion that you give is being read and interpreted by someone. Without you realising the impact of your actions, each action is adding or subtracting from the value of Brand You. Creating, building and developing your personal brand is only in your own hands. Conversely, destroying or diminishing your own brand is also only in your own hands.

What you do with your own brand name could be the difference between being very successful and not so successful. This is as true for personal branding as it is for business branding. Your brand is the essence of your own unique story. The key is reaching deep inside yourself and pulling out the authentic, unique “you” from within your own self.

Otherwise, your brand will just be a façade and you will wonder whether you recognise the person behind the façade. Yourself.

You have the freedom to create the career path that you choose. A path that will link your talent and interests with the position that you deem fit. You must have the ability to move both vertically and horizontally in your career.

Today’s hero can be tomorrow’s zero and vice versa.

Your brand value will wax and wane throughout your life. Your ability to negotiate a large salary increase after a very successful year is much higher than if you have had a bad year and not met your targets.

The value of your own brand is what will give you the valuation that you may be seeking. A well-crafted Brand You could get you that coveted promotion or the next senior job. This brand valuation could also help you to determine what you are capable of earning for yourself because of what value you and your name can add to someone else’s business. This could also be in the form of recognition and acceptance in your society, in your country or in the World.

A movie star can demand huge fees after two successive hit movies but will have to drop prices and maybe even work free after three successive flops! Unless you recognise and accept your own self and your own reality, there is not much you can do about your own brand. So many people in the government or in corporate world, as they progress through their careers assume that their organisation’s brand becomes identified with their own brand. Nothing could be further away from the truth.

When a corporate manager or a government official sends in his or her visiting card for a meeting, it is the name of the company or institution that is recognized and what gets the door opened for the meeting. So many retired government officials and corporate managers are not able to accept that they have lost their own identity after their retirement. They continue to hang on to their identity as a “former Chairman” or a “former Secretary to the Government.” This is a tenuous and weak thread linking them to their perceived identity that people are not willing to let go of and this treaf breaks on the date of superannuation.

Your personal brand building must never have anything to do with narcissism. What you carefully craft into the value of your brand must go well beyond physical appearance and personal ego.

The circle of life will continue, and your personal brand will continue to grow in its stature and value.

Remember the only legacy you will leave behind in the World is your name, Brand You.

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The author is an Executive Coach and an Angel Investor. A keen political observer, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books, The Brand Called You; Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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