What would your personal logo be? What would your slogan be?
Our last session focused on personal branding & networking. You’ve all heard these concepts and the power they have over development and career advancement, but have you really sat down to assess what is your brand and what (or WHO) is in your network? These are the questions that lingered in my head throughout the session and the very questions I sought answers for (honestly) by the end of this experience. I specifically have given some thought to the branding portion and I would like to share my ideas with you.
When we think about the term “brand”, the immediate reaction is to associate it with products/services and the companies that provide them. I am sure as you read this and see the word “brand” pop up yet again, you are already picturing in your mind a logo...Coca Cola?! Amazon?! McDonalds?! Not only are you picturing the logo, but you are probably unconsciously repeating the words to a slogan, or some type of emotion – good or bad – has been evoked.
We have been taught to associate characteristics, words, emotions, etc. to these goods/services, yet we neglect to understand that we ARE a product and we PROVIDE services every day. This means we have been teaching our clients to associate characteristics, words, emotions, etc. to US. Perhaps you are reading this thinking “Yes…I knew that”, but have you really put some thought into what your name incites in people who know you and even those who don’t? In an era where Yelp! reviews and how many stars a place, a company, or product has, defines whether we completely ignore it or set it as a candidate. I’m surprised that we – or at least me – are not socially trained to think of our careers in the same manner. We all have a personal brand, but is it the one we want for ourselves?
My biggest takeaway from the session is that a brand needs to be strategic and intentional, so we cannot forget to market, market, market ourselves. In colloquial terms, “we gotta walk the talk” and let people know about it. The first one is the “easy” part…have the awareness to INTENTIONALLY honor your commitments, stand by what you say, deliver on promises, respect your peers, collaborate, and set the example. The trick with the second part of this – letting people know – is sending the message of how good you are, without coming across as arrogant or egocentric. I know many of you reading this will say, “I will outwork everyone and I will let my work speak for me”. My friend(s), by all means, exploit your talents and resources, but, again, think of yourself as a product. The best product out there may exist, but if the consumers do not know about it or are uneducated on it, it will not sell (or at least not to its desired extent). A piece of advice…keep a record of things you accomplish and remind yourself, your peers, and your superiors of them every so often. We sometimes focus on continuing to crank out work and do not celebrate the little accomplishments.
Join me in this newfound endeavor of viewing myself as a product. I am aiming for a distinguished brand recognition and will settle for nothing else. This requires relentless commitment to customer service and enhanced openness to feedback. Let’s continuously capitalize on what we do right and correct what we do wrong. I am shooting for a 5-star review from every customer…how about you?