Brand yourself for success
You wont be judged by your accent, but you will be judged by your shoes
If you were a brand, what brand would you be? Tiffanys, chic and glamorous, Nike, young and sporty or maybe something like BMW, high performing and suave. Companies like Pesi spend billions every year in expanding and honing their brand, and associated attributes, but how many of us consider ourselves to be a brand with unique and identifiable characteristics?
Your brand is the foundation of your business, and as with all foundations, the risk of getting it wrong means you are forever re-building, and covering up the cracks; itís simply not worth skipping this important step in your personal development.
A personal brand is the way you communicate your vision, values, skills and attributes, and together, they form your personal brand identity that will form peopleís perception when they interact with you.
Nobody understands branding better than professional services firms. Look at McKinsey or KPMG for a model of the new rules of branding at the company and personal level. Almost every professional services firm works with the same business model. They have almost no hard assets, but lots of soft assets - people, preferably smart, motivated, talented people. And they have huge revenues, and astounding profits.
Organically, you and I are 96.2% the same, but a major difference is in our personality and the way we present ourselves. First impressions count, and you give a first impression whether you want to or not, so best make it work for you.
Psychologists know that first impressions are based on our spontaneous assessment of status, clothes, sex, age, size and posture, speech and facial expression. Depending on which author you believe, first impressions are made anywhere between 1-30 seconds, but more interestingly, are accurate 80% of the time, and may take up to 21 repeated occasions for someone to change a negative impressions of you. So make sure it counts first time.
Try this as a test, ask to borrow a pen from a colleague, the chances are it will be a 27p bic, possibly a free pen, even chewed at the edges, yet this says as much about their brand and brand values as the Gucci shoes they wear.
So lets look at the learning points and ask; what makes you different?
Start thinking like a brand manager, It's time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.
- So what is it about your brand that makes you unique? Is it your quality of work, expertise or reliable service?
- Decide what your personal brand values are, such as integrity, honesty, forward thinking etc.
- Decide what image you want to project for your business, if itís casual, lose the tie, you can be smart without being formal, and does it tie in with your brand values?
- Look at all the accessories that surround you, phones, pens, business cards; do they provide continuity for your brand?
- Ask a close friend or colleague what brand values they think you have, your bright orange socks may not reinforce your trustworthy brand values.
- And lastly, remember your personal brand values go beyond your normal working day. Britain is a small country, the chances are that you will meet current and future clients in a bar, restaurant or around town, so make sure your brand is consistent, whatever the occasion.
Oatmeal Training run personal branding training courses, please contact us for further details.
Notes to editors:
The Oatmeal Group is a UK company specializing in providing communication excellence to the executive workplace. The Oatmeal Group is served through four business divisions, consultancy, training, marketing and adventures.
More information on The Oatmeal Group can be found on the company website at www.oatmealgroup.com
Further enquiries to:
John Davies (Marketing) Ė 0843 289 1249
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