I’m always struck, as an “older” veteran in the Corporate world, how people respond when I ask them, “What is your personal brand”? What typically, and often predictably, ensues is a period silence and thought followed by: “I’m not sure?”! “I haven’t thought about that”. Nine times out of ten this is the reply. It may or may not come as a surprise to learn that many of these individuals work in organizations that are selling a brand- cars, computers, apparel, food – you name it! Day in and day out the discussions are always, how do we differentiate our product our brand from our competitors to bubble up to the number one choice! Yet, often, many complain that they can’t get ahead, they are being mistreated by their bosses, bullied, harassed, ignored, you name it! Would a customer by your product if you weren’t sure what the brand stood for? I would argue no!
I once learned a great trick to begin to put a lot of thought into what my brand was. I was asked, “If you were a car, what brand, make model, etc, would you be?”. That then began my wheels turning in my head, literally! (No pun intended). In moving through this simple two minute exercise, I was able to visually compare myself to the brand that I would project or want to be. At the time, it was BMW. Why? Well, it stood for excellence, power, speed, status, accomplished. Interestingly, though, when I asked my colleagues, “If you were to identify my brand as car, what would it be?” The majority did not say a BMW. They said, “A truck!”.
Hhhhmmm. Clearly with this exercise I could see that my personal perception of my brand was not in alignment with the perception others had of me, based on my projection of my values, beliefs, actions and behaviours. There was work to be done.
This illustrates very simply, that clearly identifying and critically understanding your personal brand is critical to your success in any environment. Once you have the framework for your personal brand, only then will you be on the road to perfecting and bulletproofing it to endure and succeed in any workplace environment.
So, let me ask,”If you were a car, what model would you be? “