Opinion

The brand of you

By James Ealey
Issue No. 05 The Brand One
June 2017

4 Min Read

Studies have shown that we are exposed to over 3,500 brand messages every day – and if you think about it, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

In a ‘typical day', the alarm on your iPhone wakes you up, you go to brush your teeth with your Oral B toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste then take a shower using L’Oréal (because you’re worth it) and Imperial Leather. Is it Weetabix or Kellogg’s Cornflakes for breakfast today? Hop in your Ford Fiesta to get to work. At work, you sit down at your Dell computer, with an Intel processor and Windows operating system, and so on - perhaps not the most exciting day but you get the idea.

So what about personal brand? A first impression contributes to 80% of a lasting impression. Everything an individual does and says influences how people perceive them and every interaction is an opportunity to promote their personal brand and organisation. Branding has gone beyond products, with so many communication channels now available relationships and interactions with others has never been so important. Personal brand plays a huge role in developing and sustaining these relationships.

Personal branding is important as it isn’t just about being a representative for an organisation but it’s also representing yourself. Having a good personal brand can lead to trust, credibility, industry recognition and in turn a promotion or a new (and better) job. Having a good personal brand enables individuals to progress and achieve their personal goals and ambitions.

A great example of a strong personal brand is Virgin CEO, Richard Branson. It is Richard Branson’s personal brand which has accelerated the Virgin chain into the public eye and made it the successful company it is today. His ethos, views, personality and entrepreneurial spirit runs throughout the company’s core and Virgin will always be associated with Richard Branson as an individual.

“Screw it lets do it.”

He’s known for doing – trying new ideas which no one else has either thought of or would dare to do (like sending the public on rocket tours of the planet’s atmosphere) if it works then great. If it doesn’t then change it and make it work. His famous quotes such as “screw it lets do it” are inscribed on Virgin office walls, instilling that personal brand and ethos into the Virgin family.

“You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

Branson once said: “Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”

Ensuring others perceive the same personal brand we think we are portraying can sometimes be a challenge. More often than not people perceive us differently to how we think they do.

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”There are a couple of exercises which can help though. The Johari window is a good model to use, it enables individuals to differentiate between how they think they are viewed and how people truly view them and more importantly find out what they are not. It allows an individual to re-evaluate, adapt and change their personal brand until it’s the right ‘fit’.

When creating a personal brand it is important to think about audience, objectives, key messages and goals, then identify the type of brand needed to achieve those goals.

Once a personal brand is identified the next stage it building the brand reputation and communicating that brand. Consider ways of communicating, interacting, use of social media and networking platforms and using those platforms to engage with others and ‘promote’ the personal brand.

Although a first impression contributes to 80% of a lasting impression it is important to continue a personal brand and build lasting relationships. 

Image credit: ibtimes.com

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