Who are you? What makes you unique? What do people think when your name is mentioned in a professional setting? Do you even think about things like this? Well you should, because rather you want to admit it or not, you are a brand. It doesn’t matter if you want to have a career in a Fortune 500 or own your own business, knowing and understanding your brand is one of the most important things you can do as a professional.
Know thy Brand
So, what exactly is a brand? A brand is an identifier that separates you from everyone else. Being professional is not a brand. Being successful is not a brand. Being a highly creative, upbeat young marketer is brand. Being a stylish, zookeeper who always wears red is a brand. Being an outstanding photo realism tattoo artist is a brand. I could go on.
Knowing your brand is knowing yourself. Your brand is who you are. All you need to do is learn to define your brand and make sure you are consistently meeting the standards you have created for yourself. Professionally, this is very important; especially when you are looking to branch out into new endeavors, you need to know who you are in order to sell your brand to potential employers, clients and customers. From an interview to a sales pitch, people need to believe you and believe in you to get the job done.
Build thy Brand
Building a brand is the same as building trust. Be a trustworthy brand. When people decide to purchase a new Mercedes-Benz, they aren’t just buying a car but investing in a luxurious, quality vehicle. Through branding and history of producing expensive, quality products , it is hard to dispute their brand.
So, do people seem hesitant or standoff-ish when you tell them who you are? Do you have the evidence/experience to back up your brand? Is it authentic or is it just an act? If it’s an act, sooner or later, the true you will come out, thus creating doubt for the people who may have once believed in your brand. It is your job to know your brand, be your brand and sell your brand. It needs to be believable.
Protect thy Brand
Protecting your brand is just as important as knowing and building your brand. It can take years to build a brand and one minute to ruin it. That is why it is important to be aware of how you present yourself, both personally and professionally. Many people have ruined their professional brand because of something they have done in their personal lives. I am a big advocate of separating your personal and professional life, but sometimes the two collide and you need to be aware and conscious of that possibility.
So, do you know your brand? If not, ask yourself, what about me stands out the most? Even take the time to ask colleagues what they think your brand is. From that point, start being able to articulate who you are. Make sure your actions match that description. Your brand is who you are now, not who you want to be in the future.
Then, build your brand through your actions. As you go through this process, protect your brand and continue to develop it. Everyday brands gain popularity, decrease in klout and some even disappear. The good thing about marketing and branding is that there is almost always an avenue for redemption. So, good luck and may your brand forever flourish!
Working, Marketing, Networking, Being Professional… It’s all work and I’m working on it.
ART simply Working on it.