by Patty Azzarello
âWe are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not
an act but a habit.â âAristotle
I am always talking about how Brand is about consistent behaviors.
In fact, I just was interviewed by a Forbes Magazine editor for 90 minutes on this topic. Turns
out, I was scooped by Aristotle!
As Aristotle will tell you, what I am saying about branding is not a new idea.
The Big Idea
But the big idea here for me is that we build or degrade our Personal Brand every single day â in every single conversation, meeting, email, presentation, and interaction we have with others.
You are broadcasting your Personal Brand
The behaviors people experience most consistently from you, ARE your Personal Brand.
(By the way this is true for corporate brands too. Your companyâs brand is granted to your
company based on your customersâ cumulative experience with all the products, services,
processes, communications, and employees that interact with customers.)
You have a personal brand today whether you know it or not.
The question is â is it what you want it to be? And are you doing anything consistently, on
purpose, to give people any particular impression of you?
Choice #1 â Build your Personal Brand on Purpose
If you want to build your Personal Brand here are the steps.
Learn what you are known for. Get some feedback from people who know you and work
- Decide what you want to be known for. Understand if there is a gap.
- Define some specific behaviors that support your Brand.
- Do them on Purpose every chance you get.
For example if you wanted a Brand of beingâ¦
Efficient: Donât write long emails, ever. Do present (every time) how your solutions save time and resources along with getting the desired outcome.
Well Connected in your industry: Donât take on projects alone, engage your network. Do expose the virtual team youâve created and always include externally sourced content in your communications.
Cutting Through Chaos and solving complicated problems: Donât ever participate in group email debates, offer obtuse suggestions, or let issues fester. Do offer concrete ideas and close off loose ends â every day.
Choice #2 â Leave it to chance
If you have made it this far in your career without bothering to build your Personal Brand, why
should you worry about it now?
One hazard of leaving your Personal Brand to chance is that you remain somewhat of a blank.
Even if you are generally known as âgoodâ, when opportunities come up, if you are not known
for anything in particular so you donât stand out very much. You donât stand out as much as
someone who is known for something specific.
Many people are striving for more recognition, relevance, and respect. Building your Personal
Brand is a key factor in positioning yourself to attract the respect and the rewards you deserve.
Stand out more. Be more Credible.
You become a much more credible and powerful presence in your company if everyone around
you says similar, specific things about their impression of you. Your Brand becomes significant
Your intentions do not equal othersâ perceptions
It doesnât matter what you think or feel, or intend to do. Those things only matter to you. No one
else can see them.
Others can only experience what you DO.
Another hazard of leaving your Personal Brand to chance are that you can be giving negative
impressions that you donât intend.
For example, I remember once when I did a 360 review, I got low scores on being a good
listener. I was totally shocked, because I always considered myself to be a great listener.
What I learned when I dug in was that the few people I listened to, indeed thought I was a good listener, but the vast majority of my organization never observed me listening.
Build your Brand with visible behaviors
So to build my Brand as a Listener, I created more opportunities to listen.
I created office hours, and breakfast and lunch meetings with groups of individuals. I created a website where people could give me feedback. I requested input every time I spoke. I told people what happened as a result of getting input.
My Brand issue was not with my listening skill or intention, it was about the accessibility and
visibility of listening opportunities. I was able to build positive brand value by creating more highly visible listening opportunities on purpose.
By investing some thought and energy in building your Personal Brand on purpose you will
increase your credibility and your value.
Patty Azzarello works with executives where leadership and business challenges meet. She has held leadership roles in General Management, Marketing, Software Product Development and Sales, and has been successful in running large and small businesses. She writes at The Azzarello Group Blog. You’ll find her on Twitter as @PattyAzzarello
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