How do people describe you? Beyond your age or gender or general storefront? Smart or nice or silly or clever or quiet or aloof or moody?
There would be similarity in the adjectives parents, friends, colleagues, and general acquaintances would use to describe you.
In total, the adjectives they use would represent your brand. The brand you individually represent.
Commercial brands like Nike or Chipotle work hard to define their brand in the mind of the public. They support with very specific terminology. They have Brand pillars, they have brand promises, they have brand essences. They shape and run brand campaigns to support those pillars with specific terminology.
Brands compare themselves to each other. A shoe company might wonder, “If we were in the world of cars, would we be a Chevy or a Mercedes or a Hyundai? A shoe maker such as Christian Louboutin would self-identify with Porsche perhaps.
Brands need to understand, for example, if they are selling to the masses, or selling to the classes. Who is the target?
All to support the brand essence. These marketing folks are looking at horizontal and vertical markets in ways that you might not imagine. Today big data is all the rage and just on that topic much could be written.
Here’s a list of brand slogans. Consider which company/organization they belong to:
Just Do It
The King of Beers
Finger Lickin Good
Be All That You Can Be
Don’t Leave Home Without It
We Try Harder
I don’t know either!
Warning: requisite sports reference alert:
I spent the past four days watching the first rounds of the NCAA Basketball tournament.
It seemed every head coach had a slogan for the team. Always unifying, typically us-against-the-world stuff. “No one else believes in us” in a frequent theme too. The coaches always winnow it down to 3 or 4 words. You can tell that, on the practice court and in in the locker room, the team hears it a lot. And they repeat it. They believe it.
Just as these commercial, military and sports entities have branding, so do you.
They pay loads of attention to it.
For those of you who know me well it won’t astonish you to know that I want to be known as PPFE.
Positive, Productive, Fresh, and Enthusiastic.
It might be worthwhile to spend some time considering your approach, skill set and environment to come up withy our own little personal slogan, perhaps one that only you know exists. Maybe you decide to be “the problem solver”, or “the team guy”.
You’re not going to walk around with a placard around your neck announcing your brand slogan. Yet the behaviors you exhibit and, as importantly, the language you use will shape that brand.
As an example, if you were to consistently use the words positive and productive in terms of what you were trying to accomplish, people over time will come to think of you as positive and productive.
If you want to be thought of as a frugal person, occasionally populate your conversation with allusions to driving good value or living within your means.
Repetition is the godfather of learning. (except for me; I get it the first timeJ)
My impulse to cite further examples and muscle up on the justification for what I’m saying. My hope is that this is self-evident to you.
So to the next point, and most important I think, is the shaping of what it is you want to be.
Hopefully you don’t want to be seen as something you’re not, and you want your “brand” to really represent you. A great opportunity for goal setting.
Brevity is so important. Your brand needs to be easily captured in five words or less. Three is perfect.
One year our team decided to be Clever and Ravenous for the calendar year. We told other departments within the organization that that Sales and Marketing would be Clever and Ravenous. Everyone knew that was our goal.
All year, we asked each other, we challenged each other, as new ideas surfaced. “Is it Clever?” “Is it Ravenous?” It became the filter by which we judged one another. The use of the words often and in context helped to drive that all year
I can think of many options when it comes to what your brand might be.
Set High Standards
LWTA (Loving Wife Terrific Attorney)
Learn by Listening
Clever and Ravenous
Part of the Problem
Part of the Team.
A brief positive message that you then use as the framework for how you project yourself.
Let’s say you pick Set High Standards. When you suggest an idea to your boss you could frame it this way.
“Joe, I want to set a higher standard for how we process scanned contracts. I have this idea; do you think it would help?” The goal is to set the bar a little higher, to see if we can do a little bit more. In the next conversation maybe you use the wording “is there more potential here” as you describe some topic. If the topic is, let’s say, workers comp expenses or beverage cost, or labor cost, you be the one to ask what the lowest expense possible might be. You show a desire to learn what the potential is.
Self-policing, or maybe more accurately some form of self-prophesy, will drive you to actually set higher standards, hopefully for yourself before you get around to expecting it from others. If you become someone who truly does set high standards, what a great brand you will be!
You will shape a brand of and for yourself. If the goal-setting was done wisely, your brand will reflect positively. It should lead you in the direction you want for yourself personally and professionally.
You control how others describe you. Irrespective of how you answered the initial question, understand you own the answer.