In the last 10 years the classic definition of branding has taken a new turn, it gained a human dimension. Business people have learned to brand themselves, something that Hollywood Stars have always done. Branding has always had a human aspect as seen in the two quotes from Alice in Wonderland. Alice had certain brand recognition, among those who were looking for “The Alice”. Alice also had another brand perception, from those who did not know her; she was the enormous girl with a big head.
If someone were to ask you what the brand recognition or brand perception surrounding yourself is, what would you say? If you have not given it a lot of thought, maybe it is time to do so.
During a discussion with the new CRO (Chief Reconstruction Officer), I was informed that I was known for complete and serious marketing plans, detailed follow through, cooperative but direct team work with headquarters, as well creativity and timeliness. I saw these qualities as necessities of my position, but I never actually thought about these qualities as part of my brand. This interesting experience made it clear to me that someone else had branded me with these qualities, I was branded.
When we attempt to market ourselves, we often forget the obvious. The qualities that make brands strong are not the colors and the design; it is the identity and promise behind the brand. When branding ourselves we often concentrate on external brand qualities like style, personality and standing out but these are only the qualities that enhance brands; they do not make them. The real branding lies in the competencies, deliveries, and promises delivered. To create your own personal brand you need to reflect on personal qualities that you want to be known for.
Branding yourself is important step in today’s competitive environment since it helps you deliver a clear message to your work colleagues, your customers, your family and friends. Branding gives you a voice among the many competing for attention. Branding not only helps to get the attention of others, but also helps you remain in their hearts and minds, giving you an advantage in a competitive market. Although caution must be taken when developing your brand label since there are several levels and brand qualities; a recognized brand, a premium brand, and a signature brand. My suggestions for branding yourself are:
Develop your personal competencies – As in the example I gave with my CRO, I ensure that my team demonstrates their competencies. The team produces quality ready to go to market plans, tight project management and successful product launches. My competency here is getting a team together and producing quality with them together. Which competencies do you possess? Choose one or two of the competencies that you feel comfortable with and tailor them into your own signature brand.
Consistency – Once you have developed a competency and want to be recognized for it, you will need to be consistent. A sign of a good brand is that people know what to expect. In human branding that means consistency.
Deliver results – If you want to be recognized as a human premium brand then delivering results is essential. Although this means different things in different business, it is essential that obligations and promises are met. In the marketing world good brands do this!
Be recognized but do not stand out for the wrong reasons- Being recognized for the right reasons, not the wrong ones, is critical brand perception. If you are young, please watch what you put on Facebook and social networks, it could come back to you someday.
Deliver your message and be clear- Decide what you stand for and what your message and then clear delivery is essential. Clear delivery will let people know what you stand for and help you find your position among the crowds.
Develop a style that is part of the brand packaging- In marketing, style can be in the color or form of the brand. The way you dress, the way you speak, the way you write and speak are all parts of your human brand. Your style should be recognizable and consistent with your own brand.
Communicate yourself and your brand to others- communicating your brand is easy in this day of technology, but may either support or harm your brand. If you are serious about branding yourself, you need to be careful with the various forms of communication today. Communication platforms such as Facebook can be great for developing your brand, but they can also be dangerous if your wander from your goal. Whether you want to brand yourself or not, you should be careful about the use of social media. Careers can be built or destroyed by saying the wrong things on social media. Think about how you want to communicate and focus on building your brand.
Branding yourself can certainly help you find your places within the work environment, by helping you to stand out, or get recognized. Branding may also be dangerous because if you do a good job, then your brand will stick. If you do not brand yourself seriously and correctly the first time, you may find it difficult to change your brand perception. Changing brand perception is one of the most difficult marketing tasks companies face, and with people – because perception deals with human emotions – it is even more difficult. If you want to brand yourself be serious, and reflect on what you want.