Positive or negative, emphatic or weak, powerful or not, you and I are brands!
The fact that you're reading this post means that you have already defined some level of brand for me.
- It could be the Professor Guy, the Vermont Guy, the Sales & Marketing Guy, the NH Surfing Guy, the management consultant guy...or someone else. The fact is that when you read this post, which now has close to 10,000 subscribers, or you connect with me by phone, text or email, immediately, for a few synapses of a few seconds, you've defined me as a brand.
- Similarly, for that instant when we do connect, I immediately associate a defined brand for you. First, for a few milliseconds, I immediately categorize you as a student, a customer, a partner, a prospect or an investment, and then in that same instant, I picture (not really an image, but a composite video blur of a photo, a voice, a job, and an attribute into a definition of you as a brand.
What's the largest selling cereal in the U.S.?
Even with cereal sales slightly declining, Cheerios again and again, tops the list in market share with a strong commanding need. Even though the specific sub-brand of Honey Nut Cheerios leads the overall family of the various Cheerios brands, in general, the brand reaction that we all instantly make follows a connected chain of links that leads to their well marketed value proposition...- Cheerios is made from oats
- Eating oats is known to reduce cholesterol
- Cholesterol is an indicator of heart disease
- Cheerios probably reduces the having heart disease
Or, if I were the head of marketing and could get away with it-since I have no intention of having another heart operation-I would simply put on the front of their very powerfully branded box (yellow, red, heart shape) the statement that "We help to prevent death!"
So, what about your own brand?
1. Do a Refresh!
Cars refresh their brand and image every year, and Nike and Apple do it repeatedly again and again during every year with frequent brand extensions, so you should do the same with your own personal brand at least once a year.
Update your social channels...and then use them all the time. If you're in business of any kind-in any market-this weekend, take a look at your Linked In. If you haven't already, get rid of the blue star thing that's the standard backdrop at the top and replace it with something that personally reflects your personal brand. Maybe it's your company logo, or a picture of your team or squad, or perhaps it reflects your love of the mountains or sports. The point is: Use That Space!!! That picture begins to define you both factually and emotionally connecting you to whoever is looking at your LI.
If you're on Linked In (which you must be!), make sure that it's up to date with your awards and references, and most importantly, start actually using it and posting regularly...at least once a week. Think of your LI as a mini-blog, (and, yes, you should also be blogging) and send out notes and articles that interest you and that you want to share with your associates and friends on your LI team. "Thought that you might enjoy this note (or video or podcast) from the WSJ..." or Huffington... or whatever else interests and defines you as a brand.
Then do the same with your FB or Instagram or whatever channels you use regularly.
Very quickly, you'll find that you're increasing your social rankings, and people will look to you for your content, your authority and your brand.
2. Always Pay Attention to "The Marketing of You"
Ok, I get it, you're happy, you love your job and have no desire to leave or explore anything new. Just a perfect situation for you, your team and your company. But...
...what if things were to suddenly change, and you had to suddenly change?
- ...what if you wanted to add in a board position or a new activity or a promotion?
- ...what if you wanted to become a college lecturer or a public speaker or whatever ???
The point is that you are a very expensive and highly desirable product and like every "best of class" product, you should always be marketing yourself, which always comes back to consistently polishing your brand.
3. Be Happy! Be Human !
Last night I had the occasion to provide the finishing touch to a very strong and very personal recommendation for a VP of Sales...a person that I know very well and who has worked for me in the past. Great person, tons of the right skills, and the perfect opportunity on both sides of the table-the potential candidate and the hiring company. And, as usual, there were two finalists, so the CEO, who I also know well, asked me what it was that I liked most about this candidate I referred.
The answers were very easy for me:
- He's Human! A solid team player focused first on the team and their customers and he's totally egoless.
- He's Happy! I've never heard him complain even in high stress situations. His attitude is always positive, forward thinking and totally focused on the success of the team
Have a great morning as you think about your own brand !