Building Your Personal Brand

The Missouri Agriculture Department Website says that Branding is one of the oldest and best ways to permanently identify livestock. It serves as an excellent safeguard against livestock theft, loss or dispute. In fact, the International Livestock Identification Association considers livestock brands to be as important as return addresses on mail.

Once applied the Brand is very difficult to remove. It is intended to be permanent. 

You have a brand too, it is your personal brand. Once applied, it is very difficult to remove. You may not intend for it to be permanent but it just might be.

Now here’s a scary thought… everything, yes everything, you say and do either adds to or subtracts from, your personal brand. People think stuff about you, they either think good stuff or bad stuff. Before you get upset with people who think stuff about you remember that you think stuff about other people too. It’s what we humans do.

What someone thinks of you will be determined by how you build your brand. It is determined by what you say and do. But this is the interesting part, what you “say” doesn’t build your brand and what you “do” doesn’t build it either. That would just be too easy.

Your brand is built by what you say AND do. When you’re trying to build a strong, trusted brand then those two things had better match, or at least be very, very close.  

I give out lots of advice, both online and in person. If I must say so myself most of the advice I give is pretty darn good. It’s tried, tested and true. Online the “LeadToday” brand is strong and growing stronger everyday because the advice found there truly helps people. 

In life the “Steve Keating” brand isn’t as strong and it’s not as strong for one simple reason; I don’t always do as I say to do. In other words, what I say and what I do don’t always match. There are lots of reasons, or perhaps I should say excuses, for why what I say and do don’t always match but this much is certain: it does not help make my personal brand stronger.

So I work on it. I’m aware of it. I try to get better at it everyday. Everyday!

Are you aware of your brand? Do you realize you have one? Do you know what adds to and subtracts from your personal brand? Are you even interested in having a strong personal brand?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes then you may want to check in on yourself from time to time just to make sure your “says and does” match up. You may want to evaluate your brand once in a while to determine if it’s getting stronger or starting to fade a bit. 

Your honest evaluation will inform you about what you need to do next. 

One last point. Our biggest obstacle to building a strong brand is called living life. We’re going to screw up cause that’s another thing we humans do. Never let what you’ve done keep you from doing what you can. Even if you’ve put a dent in your brand by doing something wrong you can still polish the dent by doing what’s right.   

Your Personal Brand

Backyard-Branding-lgIn the American west cattle ranchers “brand” each head of cattle to mark it as their own. The “brand” is literally burned into the hide of each animal and once branded it is permanent.

We, you and me and everyone we know, have a brand too. It’s our personal brand. It’s not burned into us but it does tend to get burned into the minds of those we deal with. Now here’s something that ought to make you think a bit, it might even scare you a little: Everything you say and everything you do either adds to or subtracts from your brand image.

Everything!

When you’re really good at something, say speaking for instance, you are recognized (branded) as a good speaker. Many things, how you speak, what you say, what you do and how you do it not only affect your personal brand but can actually become your personal brand.

Not all parts of a personal brand however are created equal. There is one part that stands out above all others. It’s called integrity.

When you do what you say you will do your brand becomes stronger. When you commit to doing something and then don’t do it your brand is weakened. You can excel in any other area but if you lack integrity your personal brand will never be as strong as it could be.

Now, if you’re like me you don’t spend much time each time thinking about how your actions (or lack of actions) are going to affect your brand. But perhaps you should.

I know it’s not possible to spend every minute of every day building your brand, but if you’ll commit even a few minutes a day to consider strategies to better develop your personal brand it will make a positive difference in almost everything you do.

Whether you know it or not you have a personal brand, it precedes you everywhere you go and it hangs around after you’ve left the scene. As long as you have to have a brand, why not do what you can to make it a strong one?