April 10, 2006
Liz published this at 6:17 am
Brand YOU Common Sense
All of this Brand YOU conversation really does come down to common sense. In order to make a strong place for yourself in the world of business, you need to know yourself. You need to capitalize on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses, to find ways to let people know how you add value, and to think deeply so that you can speak to the unique assets that you bring to everything that you do.
Being able to do those things puts you ahead of most folks–if you keep the ideas in perspective–because most follks don’t quite understand the concept of brand versus product or store. Keep in mind your brand is a promise you make. Not everyone will take you up on it. Some will look for you to break that promise. One day, in some way, you probably will.
5 Ways to Break the Promise of Your Brand
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to break the promise of your personal brand.
1. Build a brand on what you wish you were instead of what you are. You’ve taken time to build a brand. You’ve gathered the attributes and strengths that you want people to see as yours. But they’re really just pipe dreams–wishes instead of realities. Your promise was made on false pretenses. People recognize soon enough when you’ve oversold yourself. They see it in what you can’t do. You not only lose your brand. You lose any credibility you might have had. It’s exponentially higher, if not impossible, to win back trust, than it is to earn trust you never had.
2. Crack under pressure. Sail along smoothly as a calm and charismatic leader until the chips get down, then lose it all and fall apart. It doesn’t matter whether you whine and shake, or yell and stammer. Lose your humanity, your leadership skills, your sense of humor and your brand is lost right with them. You broke your promise when it counts.
3. Change with the weather. A brand is a promise that you’ll always be there–you, the you that folks have come to know. Your coworkers and business relations don’t want to get to know you every time they meet you. They want a brand they can believe in. Consistency is a cornerstone of any brand. If you’re not consistent you don’t have a brand. Folks don’t make promises with the wind.
4. You don’t believe you. You know what you want to be, and in your heart you want to be it. You just don’t believe you ever will. If you don’t believe you, why in the world would I? It’s not good business to bet on a promise that starts with I’m not so sure, but I want to try.
5. You think Brand YOU is an entitlement. Whoa! Slow down cowboy. This isn’t a rodeo, and you don’t have the silver buckle yet. You see Brand YOU isn’t really about you at all. It’s about the customer, and the customer is every person who is NOT you–the folks you work with and those you serve. Brand YOU is merely a way of communicating to them what you stand for in shorthand so that you can get on to the relationship of working together with some common knowledge of each other as already established ground. The promise should be that you’re there for THEM.
Just like any broken promise, no personal brand at all is better than a broken personal brand.
Turning Brand YOU Upside-Down
Now that you’ve identified your personal brand and you know what it’s there for. It’s time to turn it upside-down. It’s time to add the most crucial part of it. ME–Well, me the customer. The customer is the reason you made a brand in the first place. The customer is the one who lets you know what your brand really is.
Now Brand YOU becomes Brand YOU & ME. Two is a lot more fun. Just wait I’ll show you why and how.
–ME “Liz” Strauss