Think about the power of brands. It can be a food, car, hotel, or clothing brand. What makes a brand powerful? What makes you go back again and again to a brand? I’m guessing it probably isn’t just their logo or outward trappings that lure you back.
Just having a brand with frills doesn’t guarantee success; it’s what is behind the brand that really counts. And that is true for personal brands as well. Here are two examples of what I’m talking about.When I lived in Seattle there was a marvelous small restaurant on the Olympic Peninsula that served the most incredible seafood meals. Whenever I was there a line of people, rain or shine, were always waiting to get a table at the place. This little restaurant didn’t have a fancy logo or, for that matter, fancy anything….except fabulous food and super friendly service. Forty-four years later I still remember that wonderful place and its name…..The 3 Crabs Restaurant!
On the other hand, I’ve been to restaurants all over the world that initially enticed me in by a fancy logo or an attractive storefront, but didn’t have anything else to back them up. I can’t remember their names now nor would I ever visit them again. Like these examples, personal branding is all about putting your best impression forward AND sustaining that impression over time.How do you develop a professional brand? Authenticity is key! Keep in mind the words of Abraham Lincoln: “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” If your brand is not authentic, people won’t be fooled and neither will a prospective sponsor!
Knowing who you are, what you contribute, and where you are going make up your brand’s core. You should not be surprised if this sounds familiar. Branding is interwoven with how you see and conduct yourself. It’s your vision, purpose, and strengths, daily actions, writing, speaking, interactions with others and your appearance and “soft skills.”Perceptions about you by others play a big part in the type of possibilities and advancements that come your way. If you know and follow your vision and purpose, use and live your strengths, and set and take action on your goals then the likelihood of building and sustaining your brand is almost guaranteed as is the prospect of gaining a sponsor.
Brands are not useful, though, unless they are communicated to and known by others. A product can have all the best elements of a brand, but until the brand is recognized it can’t live up to its potential. An important element of professional branding is visibility. You not only need to develop your brand and nurture it, you must also publicize it to make a sustained imprint in furthering your career.Make developing your brand a priority. Then own it, be proud of it and publicize it every day through daily actions that speak louder than words. You will be surprised how much easier your career can advance and how much more interest a prospective sponsor will have in supporting you.