by Garry Browne AM
Have you ever wondered what people say about you when you’re not in the room? That’s when your personal brand comes into play and depending on how you’ve managed your ‘brand’ over time, will determine what they say.
A good way of ‘checking’ your brand is by discovering the answer to these questions;
When people hear your name, what do they think about? What words would they associate your personal brand with and how would people describe you?
Then ask yourself, have you always done what you said you would do? Have you fulfilled your promise on a consistent basis? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and what are you prepared to do to improve the weaknesses?
If you’re not happy with what the answers to these questions reveal, or with any discrepancies that appear between what you think and what others around you think, it’s not too late to change it.
When you’re over 55 you can still establish and maintain a compelling personal brand that will help you have a more positive impact on your community, your place of work before you retire, your family and friends, and even the world.
The key ingredients to do this include relevance and reputation. You need to be relevant to those you want to influence and have a reputation that will support the messages and initiatives you deliver.
Your relevance is simply about being closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand. Whereas your reputation is that people associate you with a specific area of expertise or knowledge and they trust your knowledge over time.
When you have more relevance and a stronger reputation, you have more opportunity to influence others and make an impact for the better, because people are more open and willing to listen to your ideas and thoughts and then implement them.
I want to share a collection of key values and actions with you that are useful guidelines when you are trying to establish and maintain your reputation and relevance. Even through challenging times, or times of fundamental change, these values and actions are great starting points to help you make a positive impact on those around you:
1 Stand by your word
Do what you say you’re going to do and say what you mean. Be reliable and dependable; this is how you build more trust.
2 Help others realise their potential
Go out of your way to help others reach their goals. Being reputable goes beyond concern for yourself and your own advancement. Foster a mindset of helping other people.
3 Exceed expectations
Go a step (or two) beyond what is expected. The actions of someone who goes above and beyond will be noticed; they stand out as a positive role model for everyone.
4 Show integrity in action
Do what’s right. Values matter. Operate with integrity at all times. If you wouldn’t buy the product or service you are selling, don’t sell it. If you see the wrong thing happening, do something to prevent it happening or happening again.
5 Be consistent and have tenacity
You need to show the same great qualities you have to everyone you meet. When your behaviour is steady and reliable, your actions become predictable. Have consistent and relentless focus on performance.
6 Get engaged with your community
Being engaged means getting to know people in your community and giving back your time and resources and being available.
7 Show thoughtfulness in your actions
Think before you act. Are you proud of who you are, what you say and what you do? Ask yourself: ‘Is what I’m doing worthy of my best self?’
8 Own accountability
Gone are the days you can ‘fake it till you make it’. Social media and the speed at which news travels has opened up everyone to accountability in a way that simply didn’t exist 15 years ago. Be honest about your mistakes and failures. Accept responsibility for your actions. If you wouldn’t be proud to see your words or actions in a newspaper headline, don’t say them or do them. If things go wrong despite your best intentions, face the consequences with an apology and your plan to do better.
9 Show compassion in action
Show you care about other people. It’s important to find ways to recognise and support other people, whoever they are. Be aware of other people’s needs and help without expectation of a ‘return’. Thank them, recognise them and be respectful.
10 Look the part
Be sure to dress for the reputation you are working to build and maintain. People will always make judgements about the way you look, write, post online, appear on social media and interact. Your body language also tells people a lot about what you think about yourself and what you think about them.
11 Create visibility and connections
You have to ensure people notice you, that they see your performance. Reputations don’t work very well in isolation, they need a network of supporters, fans, and advocates to spread the word. Getting others to sing your praises is far more effective than you trying to do it yourself. It’s also good to associate with others who have a strong reputation that complements your own.
If you’re also going through a change of career, redundancy, you’re approaching retirement or if you just feel lost or stuck, put some time aside for self-reflection. Re-evaluate what’s important to you and what your values are so this can drive what you do next. Some of mine include honesty, reliability, authenticity, give back, accountability and so on.
Consciously thinking about, discussing and articulating your values will provide you with a strong and clear baseline for the decisions you make, your actions, what you will accept or not, and the people you associate with or not. Your values go to the core of who ‘brand you’ is and will hopefully provide you with some clarity during the challenging time in your life. Focusing on building your personal brand and being clear about who you are and what you stand for, can also help foster your self-esteem and help you move forward.
Branding and business pioneer, Garry Browne AM has had over 40 years’ experience successfully launching international brands into Australia such as Tabasco, Mentos, Chupa Chups etc. In his debut book Brand New Brand You, Garry shares his invaluable insight on the essential dynamics of personal branding which uses the same intrinsic elements of commercial brand building. Visit garrybrowne.com.au/books to find out more.