Brand power is something mostbusinesspeople are aware of and try to harness. We spend big marketing budgetstrying to build a product brand, increase brand value and maintain brandintegrity. But what many people are not aware of is that they themselves arebrands.
Your personal brand is perhaps morepowerful than any product brand – it’s on show all the time and everything youdo, from the way you dress to how you speak, reflects either positively ornegatively on your brand.
Thinking about yourself as a brand is thefirst step to strengthening your personal brand value. You need to come up witha brand promise and brand values, in the same way you would do for yourbusiness. Your brand promise is based on the extrinsic and intrinsic qualitiesof your brand – how you dress, speak, present and represent yourself creates anexpectation in, or brand promise to, the people you meet. So think about theextrinsic and intrinsic brand values you would most like people to associatewith you and your business. It runs deeper than mere appearances, but self-presentation is important.
Hein Kaiser, National Account Director,Marcus Brewster Publicity JHB, points out: “Remember the adage that you arewhat you eat. The same rules apply to presentation. First impressions last, andhumans are visual creatures.”
Kaiser points out that presentation is thefrontline of any brand or business. So it’s important that presentation, be itof your person, your documentation or any collateral that is associated withyour brand, falls in line with the intrinsic and extrinsic values that you havedetermined for your brand.
Building a personal brand is two-pronged.Approaching yourself as a brand and thinking about the values you want toencompass is only half the job done. The next step is to start delivering onthe values that you have created for your brand. “Customers want to see thatyou live your message,” says Kaiser. The strength of your brand will bedetermined by how well you deliver on what your brand promises people.
Looking the part but not playing it can bemore detrimental than you think. How many times have you heard people complainof someone who “talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”? It makes you appearuntrustworthy and nothing can be more detrimental to your business than that.This is why it’s important that the things your brand promises are things you canactually deliver on. Don’t choose values for your brand that you don’tsubscribe to – it will make living them out impossible. Keep it simple, andthen live it.