Brand Yourself in 2009
- We all know that a brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; what might be less obvious is that each time somebody meets you they unconsciously create images and ideas about you which operates as a ‘your unique brand’. Companies spend large amounts of money to develop a brand because a positive brand influences how consumers will respond to their product.
As a professional or entrepreneur our success will be dependent on self leadership and our ability to influence others. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) taught that to influence requires ethos, which gives us the English word ethic and means character. Our ethos is like a brand, the symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service.
Some people seem to naturally exude their ethos as a personal power that causes people to trust and be influenced by them; but can this personal branding be cultivated or developed? Most certainly yes! And in this article I will share some of the key factors in developing your brand of personal power and professional influence.
When we influence, we alter/affect someone else’s perceptions, views, beliefs, attitudes, decisions thus alter their actions. So the first question to ask yourself is, “do I have permission to influence others?” If you are not sure of your answer consider this – because each person will unconsciously create images and ideas about you, you are already influencing their perception! The question should now be. “How do I want to influence others and what brand do I want to project?”
Research has shown that people are positively influenced by people who are: trustworthy (honest), forward looking, confident, competent and inspiring. Each of these traits can be developed an enhanced and the payoff is increased personal power and influence.
“Honest is the best policy” is a maxim that holds true for developing your brand and another is “let your yes be yes and your no be no”. By living a creed of keeping your word and following through on your actions you transmit a very strong message that you are a person to be trusted and trust is like money in the bank when it comes to relationships.
Being forward looking is a quality of influence and leadership, it is attractive because it sends a message that you are a person of vision and action and can get things done rather than dwell on problems. Forward looking people are more optimistic and this creates a self fulfilling prophesy as people are influenced by your ideas.
Confidence and competence are linked in an interesting way. Confidence without competence is foolhardy but it is not possible to become competent without as certain level of confidence. Confidence says,”I have the power to think and feel and speak and act – therefore I can learn anything and I can do anything I put my mind to.” With this kind of self talk you will radiate the confidence of a ‘can do’ person.
To be inspiring means to put ‘spirit’ into your words and actions. Aristotle called this pathos (passion) and listed this as the second quality of influence. Without passion your words and deeds have little or no influence on others, but with passion you become energised like an electromagnet and attract others to your plans and ideas.
Aristotle’s third quality of influence, he called logos which gives us the word logic. We persuade people with our knowledge and thinking; this is known as ‘expertise power’. So if you access your personal power and know your ‘stuff’ you will already be creating a brand in the mind of those around you.
After personal power, and expertise power comes connection power. Connection power comes from who you are connected and associated with. Companies understand this when they link think their brand to celebrities. Tag Heuer has Tiger Woods sporting their watch sending the message that if it is good enough for the world’s best golfer it is good enough for me. You can increase you influence power by connecting with people of influence, take advice from them and be seen with them. A word of caution here – always do a check for integrity, because if there is strong association in the mind of your clients between you and a person of questionable ethics, you will also be tainted.
So in summary,
- Be confident
- Know your stuff
- Add value to others
- Talk and walk with Passion about what you believe in.
You are a brand so make the most of it. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “What do I want to project?” then go and do just that.