When you think of the words, Sony, Toshiba, Toyota, IBM, Mercedes, what thoughts come to your mind. Your thoughts may include words such as quality, reliability or luxury. Brands conjure up thoughts or ideas, whether we are familiar with the brand or allow the media to connect us. But, although you may pay attention to how a product is positioned in the market established and strengthened, you are a brand as an individual. Therefore, you are responsible to build your own brand and this takes effort but is worth it. People will have an opinion about you. Although you cannot please everyone, and may not be directly responsible for the opinions someone may have, there are basic steps to follow to improve or strengthen your reputation to positively build your brand.
Be Reliable and Dependable
We may think these are qualities that should be associated with anyone wanting to build their brand or get business. Are you known to be reliable and dependable? If you tell someone that you are going to perform a specific task at a certain time it should be accomplished on time as promised. Of course, sometimes there are some obstacles that can be faced that can prohibit the tasks from being fulfilled. However, this information should be communicated well in advance. Doing this builds trust and confidence.
If you are in a business and have to work with partners or colleagues, when they tell you that the project will be delivered at a certain time and it is delayed, without communicating with you directly, what are your thoughts about that individual? What happens to the trust? The reputation has now weakened and the trust begins to erode. This is the natural tendency when dealing with others. For example, I participated in a project where the model never showed up and or other occasions arrived late and never communicated the cause of the delay. This resulted in canceling the photo shoot, but still the photographer was paid. This was not a good experience for all involved. The reputation of the model deteriorated from positive to weak as a result of these actions.
Present a Professional Profile
Although this can easily be taken for granted, a professional profile is important, especially if the goal is to make money. Many companies are accustomed to presenting information about their brand, whether it is to build partnerships, raise capital or increase sales. When it comes to business, this means present a professional profile to be taken seriously. In some the standards of what is professional have diminished. Take responsibility to raise the bar and get noticed. It does not mean expensive items to purchase but be practical and reasonable but professional.
Are You “Open” For Business”?
How many times have you gone to a store after hours only to see the “Closed” sign in the window? Could you be guilty of wearing the invisible “Closed” sign even if you think you are open for business? Think about the following questions:
- Do I return emails and telephone calls on a timely basis?
- Is my social media contact old and not current?
- Do I present an updated resume that is accurate and neat?
- Do I demonstrate by our actions that we really want to build my brand?
- Do I take constructive feedback without getting sensitive?
This is an area we should carefully consider. Perhaps speak to a friend or confidant to ask if our open for business sign is clear and visible.
Investigate, Collaborate, Partnership
These three words are very important in building our personal brand. This means we have to be inquisitive in making sure we align ourselves with people who will give us the feedback, we can make the necessary changes. When you ask for feedback, even if you do not agree, weigh it and make sure it is heard. You just never know when it can be used in the future. To build the right partnership that becomes a win-win takes time, ingenuity and persistence, but well worth the effort.
These items identified are not complete, but represent the icing on the cake. This is just the beginning, but if applied, can make a difference in leveraging your personal brand to create additional revenue.
Written by: Wayne Brown (Founder & CEO of The Walker Group Media – a marketing and business development company serving the financial services and FinTech companies. Our varied market segments helps us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to build their business. Through our one-on-one CEO Advisory Services, we have help companies to navigate through key business problems, increase sales, build new revenue streams and gain new customers.)