What’s Your Brand? – Part III

In 25 words or less, what is a brand? It is a promise of a consistent, unique and meaningful experience.

Each of these words is a crucial component of your brand:

Promise – what someone has the assurance that they can expect from you.

Consistent – implicit in your promise is that it can be relied upon, i.e. you repeatedly deliver what others expect.

Meaningful – a brand brings something valuable to the user of the brand.

Unique – what is that you want to be known for that few others could be known for?

Experience – ultimately, being your brand is what people can consistently expect to feel about having an encounter with you.

What do you want to be known for? Who needs to know that? How will you let them know?

So closing this topic in 25 words or less: Don’t be oblivious to who you are. Don’t let your identity be completely defined by other people. Do take control of your personal brand.

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What’s Your Brand? – Part II

In the marketplace of myriad product choices, it’s a product or company’s brand that has one of the strongest influences on your purchase decisions. In the world of interpersonal relationships and interactions of all kinds – personal, business, leader, follower, peer, server or served – the strength and clarity of your personal brand will determine your influence in those relationships and interactions. USA Today small business columnist Rhonda Abrams suggests four reasons for a small business to consider their brand. I believe that these reasons are just as applicable to you if you want to have greater influence and interpersonal effectiveness. Here are four self-reflection questions to help you consider how to manage your personal brand.

  • Your brand will help people to remember you. What is it that you want people to remember about you?
  • Your brand will build loyalty. What is it that will cause people to want to be connected to you? What is that people should keep returning to you for?
  • Your brand tells people what they can expect from you. If someone knows they are going to talk to you, what are they thinking and feeling about you before the interaction? Are they anticipating a positive or negative experience? And if they’re not expecting anything, why not?
  • Your brand makes you more valuable. How useful are you to others? In what ways do you make others lives better?

I believe that every person already has within them the power to be special in their own way and can create positive experiences that others will continually want. I also know that most people don’t know what those powers are because they don’t think about them.[1] Or if they have some idea about their powers, they haven’t been intentional about using them.

These questions above require introspection and self-awareness to answer. And the point of those answers is to manage your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions in such a way that you can bring all of your gifts – your unique personal brand – with you to each and every interpersonal encounter. When you do that, you will begin to achieve the full impact and influence on others you are capable of having.

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[1] Only about one third of people can meaningfully identify their strengths. Alex Linley, Average to A+: Realising Strengths In Yourself and Others (Coventry, England: CAPP Press, 2008), 92.

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What’s Your Brand?

If you’re old like me, when you think of the word “brand” you might think of cattle in a Western movie or TV show. The original meaning from the 1500s (pre-Western movies!) was “an identifying mark made by a hot iron”.  It’s current understanding of “a particular make of goods” didn’t come about until the 1800’s and “brand name” until the 1900s. But the current thinking still harkens back to the old meaning popularized by the Western cattle owner, whose brand said, in effect, “These are MY assets. They belong only to me.”

I bring this up because recently I’ve spent time talking with a client about personal brands, i.e. the unique qualities, attributes, skills, etc. that consistently distinguish a relationship with you from a relationship with other people. Your brand is essentially YOUR particular set of assets that you use to make an “identifying mark” on other people – a mark nobody else can make.

One way to think about your identifying mark, i.e. your brand, is to ask yourself the question, “What is it I want to be known for?” Usually the answer to that question comes from things you already know about yourself that matter most to you.

But think even deeper than that. What is it you want to be known for that is unique to you? Your impact on others will be greater when there are few people that can share your assets and how you deploy them. What are those things people get from you that they can’t get from anybody else? Those qualities that are unique to you are your brand.

Too often, people ask others, “What do you want from me?” That’s letting them put their mark on you. Instead, spend some introspective time defining what matters most to you in terms of the impact you are able to have on others. And then keep defining it until your brand looks like nobody else’s. It could be what you and you alone can do. It could be a special and memorable way of doing something that sets you apart. It might be a unique combination of things about you.

When you are able to know exactly what your brand is and begin relating to others with it, you will be pleasantly surprised by the increased level of influence you have on them. You will discover how much more purposeful and fulfilling your relationships are. And you will find how deeply satisfying it is when you live according to the brand that makes you uniquely you.

How are you leaving your mark?

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Coming Soon

This blog/website is quickly coming together and will be full of great content soon. Feel free to keep returning and follow my progress!

In the meantime, enjoy these thoughts:

All high tech gurus are smart. The best have the ability to listen, to influence, to collaborate, and to get people motivated and working well together (Susan Ennis, Working with Emotional Intelligence, p. 29)

I find that empathy mixed with a dose of pragmatism can reframe and help so many situations. (from my friend Jennifer Tucker’s Twitter @4tuckertalk.

Ultimately, understanding diversity isn’t about learning what makes one group of people different from another. It’s really about understanding what makes one person different from everybody else.

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