I do this because I am a brand and so are you. It doesn’t matter what your job is. Dishwasher, waitress, or CEO. You have a personal brand whether you are aware of it or not and others will see your brand everyday, so it’s better if you take control of what kind of brand you have.
Your brand is similar to your personality but it’s so much more. Your brand is the umbrella over all of the items that make up your brand. All of the items under your umbrella are all data points that are subconsciously used by people to establish their general feeling about you and your personality is just one of them.
If you want to think of it in terms of a business, some of the data points that you would use to determine how you feel about their brand may include things like their logo, office building design, cost, efficiency, quality of products, their mission statement, eco friendliness, charitable donations, reviews, or personally knowing employees of that company, as well as your personal past experiences with that company. These are all data points that allow people to establish their feeling of that business’s brand.
Your personal brand includes things like appearance, personality, composure, hygiene, transportation, hobbies, type of job, behavior, communication, morals, standards, and past experiences that a person may have had with you. These are data points that others will use in order to establish their feeling of your brand.
I’ve come across a lot of people in my career who often say things like “I’m just being real”, or “I’m just being myself”. This is absolutely not the attitude to have for success. Think of it like this; you are a business and every interaction you have with anyone is a reflection of your business’s customer service experience.
I also come across some people who might have a high title at work or drive a nice car and equate this with being successful and making the mistake of believing this is their brand. It is not. Their thinking is limited. Your brand is something that transcends what kind of car you drive, what job you have, or how much money you make.
As I mentioned before, your personal brand includes your appearance. This doesn’t mean you need expensive designer clothes but it does mean things like being dressed appropriately for the occasion. Your brand also includes smaller things like your voicemail message, your email address, and any interaction that you have with anyone both in real life or online in social media. As well as anything other people see you do or hear you say. Nothing is too big or too small to fit under the umbrella that is your brand. These things, whether you know it or not, are billboards for your personal brand.
We have all seen pictures of someone, heard stories about them, or read something they’ve written and made a judgment in our minds about those people without ever having met them. This is because these are data points that contribute to your mind making the decision that it has enough data to paint a picture of that person’s brand.
The amount of data points required by each person to establish a brand for someone else in their mind, will vary from person to person. Some will only require a picture or a story about a person because this will give them a mental image of their looks or behavior.
Once we make a judgement about someone, this means our brain has subconsciously decided that it has enough data points to make that judgement. You can’t control how quickly others will make a judgment about you but you can control the data that their brains are using in order to make that judgement. In other words, you can’t control the speed but you can control the judgment.
In my opinion, the most important factor of anyone’s personal brand is how you make others feel. The emotional experience people are left with, after having an interaction with you. That is the essence of your brand. This is your customer service and the user experience for whoever you are interacting with.
We all know the difference in the way we feel when we leave a business after having a very bad experience or very good experience. Well, the same thing applies for person to person interactions.
When people walk away from any interaction with you, the feelings and emotions of the experience will stay with them. Be sure to focus on giving great customer service to everyone so they will have a good user experience with you and your brand. Because whether you like it or not, everyone is your customer.