Brand Rehab: Redefining How You Are Seen
Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand. Really – you do! You are the CEO of “Me, Inc.”!
Everyone has a certain reputation (or “brand”) that they’re known for in the professional space, but for most people, that brand has been created by default, rather than by design and intentionality. The people you work with have built up their own perceptions, opinions, and judgements about who you are, what you’re good at—and possibly even what you’re not good at. They perceive you a certain way. In short, they have “branded” you in their own minds.
We all have both an offline and online reputation. When people talk about you when you’re not around, and the conversation is about your personal characteristics and professional competencies, what comes up? This reflects your offline reputation. When you Google yourself, what pops up? Is the information you are sharing across LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social sites consistent? This reflects your online reputation.
The real question is, do you want to allow your online and offline reputation to take on a life of its own, or do you want to shape the narrative? With the proliferation of social media and the gig economy, it has become essential for everyone to embrace personal branding.
You shape your Personal Brand and are the only one capable of ultimately determining how you are seen. No one else can do it for you!
A Personal Brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world. Effective Branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers. Have you allowed others to define your reputation? If so, you owe it to yourself to discover how you’re currently perceived and, if necessary, re-brand yourself.
The good news is that you completely control your Personal Brand, and your Positioning.
If you don’t like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree!
If you feel you need a bit of a Brand Rehab, here are three simple steps I recommended that can help you get started – “A.I.M.”…
Step #1: “A” – AWARENESS – Get A Baseline Of Your Current Brand
First, you need to clearly understand where you currently stand to clarify the brand that you’re already known for. Ask trusted peers, team leads, managers, mentors, or HR representatives to describe how you’re currently being seen by others.
Step #2: “I” – IDENTIFY – Identify The New Brand You Want To Be Known For
When you understand how you’re currently perceived, create a clear and concise brand statement that describes what you want to be known for. You can’t be known for everything, so be clear on what you want to be known for. You may even want to discuss with a trusted circle of mentors and leaders the sort of brands that are most desirable.
When you identify the new brand you want to be known for, it should always include both Personal Characteristics and Professional Competencies. Some examples of Personal Characteristics might include good communication, ethics, flexibility, resilience, determination, focus, teamwork, honesty, problem-solving, initiative, work ethic, etc. Some examples of Professional Competencies might include technical skills, leadership skills, analytical skills, sales skills, business development skills, strategic skills, etc.
Step #3 – “M”– MANAGE – Manage Your Communication And Actions To Your Desired Brand
Pay close attention to every interaction you have with others and stay aligned with the brand you want to be known for. Look for opportunities to take on stretch assignments, projects, or even a new role that showcases the brand you want to build. Share your desired brand with a few trusted mentors and ask for their regular feedback – and for them to also hold you accountable.
When it comes to reshaping your brand, actions speak louder than words. It can take as little as 2-3 months to have a complete Brand Rehab. It takes a lot of work, but I’ve seen it done successfully many times. Even people with poor reputations go on to build a stellar career by expressing their new brand in every interaction they have with others. If they can build great brands, you can, too!
Let’s close with some super powerful quotes around personal branding:
There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.Dale Carnegie
All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.Tom Peters
Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.Tim Ferriss
Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room – remember that. And more importantly, let’s discover why!Chris Ducker
It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.Gary Vaynerchuk
At the center of your being you have the answer: you know who you are and you know what you want.Lao Tzu