Branding is a term used as a marketing technique to identify a product, service or organization in a particular way. Companies use this strategy to create an image in the hearts and minds of customers relating to their product or service. As a result, the power of a brand is in its ability to influence purchasing behavior.
Nike's famous swoosh with the tagline "Just do it." is an excellent example of company branding. When you see that swoosh, you think: "Just do it." It speaks to what the company is about (fitness, athletics, pushing yourself to higher limits), what they sell (sports gear), and what they believe in (physical achievement).
Our brand for Nurturing Your Success is "Successful - Think It. Do it. Be it." Our mission for creating partnerships to help others achieve greater levels of success in life, career and finances is communicated through our choice of logo and marketing materials, in our presentations, and in our individual work with our clients.
You Have A Brand
Individuals have brands too. You are known for something - a brand called you. And while you may not have intentionally set out to create your current brand, you are not stuck with it forever. You can learn how to create a new one.
A personal brand is similar to a reputation, which involves the act of doing something consistently over time. A brand, however, is larger in scope. It communicates who you are and differentiates you from the rest. Once you determine what you want to be known for, you can actively work to create your brand by developing the skills that support the results you want to achieve.
What's Your Brand?
Discovering what you are already known for is the first step in personal branding. Becoming aware of how others feel about you is part of raising your emotional intelligence. Those who are emotionally intelligent are highly self-aware and seek to decrease the disparity between how they feel about themselves, how others feel about them and who they are capable of being.
Your current brand may not reflect those qualities by which you want to be known. It is, however, your current reality. Be willing to hear the truth from those closest to you. Ask your friends, coworkers and family members what you mean to them. This is the time to just listen and take notes. You may be surprised at the impact you make in the lives of others.
In speaking with others, you may discover that you are known for different things in your personal life versus your work life. While this may not be inherently bad, it begs the question, what does this do for you and is this want you want?
Become self-observant and reflect on the following questions honestly. How do people respond to my presence? Are people glad to see me in meetings or do they sigh with relief when I leave? Do people listen to me? Do they want to hear what I have to say or are they glad when I stop talking? What do I see and hear from others in daily conversation that gives me ideas about who I am to them and how they feel about me?
You may discount the little things said to you like the 'thank you for a job well done', comments made about your work or what others say if you are out of work for a while. All these things matter in identifying what you mean in the lives of others. In fact, the little things matter the most. Take notice of the things said to you and compliments made to you. Learn to receive them graciously. You cannot know what you mean to others unless you pay attention.
Why A Personal Brand?
Does this matter? Does it matter how people feel about you? Why should you care about others or about creating your own personal brand?
You are always marketing yourself. To move up in your career you need to be viewed as someone who can handle the responsibilities of your position. If you want to find a new job, you need to know what your references will say about you and you need to know how to present yourself to a prospective employer. This means, you must be branded as someone who possesses the qualities sought for the position or the promotion.
If you do not play an active role in creating your own image and your personal brand, you will still be branded because others will be glad to define your brand for you. So, why not play an active role in determining your brand?
What do you want to be known for? Determine what qualities are most important to you. Are there certain attributes that you admire in others? What experience do you want people to have when they are in your presence? People may not remember what you say; but they will remember how you made them feel.
Work to close the gap between who you are today and how you want to be perceived by others. Focus on the results you want to achieve and not on how you will change other's perceptions of you - you cannot control or change other people! You can only control how you present yourself today. As you present yourself, as you want to be known, consistently over time and continue to obtain feedback from others, you will become the brand. A brand works when it stands for something. So, what do you stand for?
About Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN
Julie Fuimano, MBA, RN is an Executive Coach with Nurturing Your Success Inc. She is passionate about partnering with people as they take the challenging journey to a new level of success. Clients report making better decisions, having more time for themselves, being able to say no to requests outside of their responsibilities and desires, being better able to manage emotions as well as conflicts, and an overall feeling of power and confidence. If you are discontent or frustrated with something in your life and are ready to give up the struggle for something better, or if you have a vision for success and want the courage and focus to make it happen, then contact Julie at (610) 277-2726 or write to Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com to explore how coaching would work for you. If not now, when? Fuimano is a popular motivational speaker, world-renowned writer, and author of the life manual and confidence builder, The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance–available wherever books are sold. Sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter at www.NurturingYourSuccess.com.
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