What products come to mind when you think of great brands? Coca Cola, Levis, The New York Times, Apple and Scotch Tape are but a few that come to my mind when I hear the word brand. People can be brands too: LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods are all strong brands. In fact, they are all readily recognizable by their first names.
If you want to become a career success, you need to brand yourself too. Your personal brand differentiates you from everyone else in the world. My brand is “The Common Sense Guy.” Because of my brand, people know that they can rely on me to provide them with common sense advice that will help them reach their career, life and business goals. They also know that they will get this advice in a straightforward, easy to understand and apply manner, because after all, I’m just a guy.
Spend time crafting your brand. Think of it this way; your brand is the two or three words you want people to most often associate with you. Decide what you want these words to be, and then go about making sure that all of the people with whom you come into contact think of you that way.
This is important because nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t brand yourself, others will. It’s better to be in control of your personal brand by creating it yourself, than it is to let others create it for you.
Here’s a real life example. I have a very successful friend. He owns a high profile and growing advertising agency. We met when we were both working for a very large Fortune 500 company. My friend is a fun guy, a big sports fan and very witty. Somehow his fun personality got him tagged as “immature.” This is ironic because he is one of the most mature and hard working people I know. No matter, his immature brand cost him several promotions. He finally had to leave the company and begin someplace anew where he could establish a more positive brand
Creating a strong personal brand is simple conceptually. Ask and answer these simple questions: “How do I want people to think of me?” “What words do I want to people to use to describe me?” Think about these questions. Take your time. Answer them. Then do whatever it takes to make sure that other people think of you that way.
For example, if you decide that “hard working” is a term with which you would like others to associate with you, then work hard. Do your assignments well and on time. When you finish one task, ask for another. Come early, stay late. Ask questions to help you understand the business. Pretty soon, people will begin thinking of you as a hard worker – “someone who does everything we ask, and then asks for more.” Once this happens, you’ll know that you’re on your way to creating your own special and unique personal brand.
You’re smart enough to figure out what to do to create the brand you want. The important thing is to choose your brand, then consistently and constantly do the things that will build the brand that is uniquely you.