Ask anyone in America if they believe that they have control of their personal brand. Most people will answer that they do. Now push a little further and ask these same people to define for you what their brand actually is. At this point the responses you hear will vary from silence to hyperbole.
Before being confronted on this topic, many people do not even proactively think about that fact that they have a personal brand. And more importantly people do not realize they have control over it.
Controlling Your Brand
How do you control your brand? First, you must have a brand, or know what you want your brand to be. You can have more than one brand, but for this article I will focus on managing a single brand.
Now that you have chosen your brand, you will need to both manage and control it. See my article titled 6 Steps to Managing a Personal Brand for steps on managing your personal brand.
Controlling a brand and managing a brand are similar but different from each other. To control your brand is to make sure that all activities and associations reinforce the brand. Whereas, managing a brand focuses on the activities needed to build the brand.
Reinforcing Your Brand
Brands do not take care of themselves. Brands are created and maintained over time. Once you have narrowed down what your brand is or what you want it to be, you now must reinforce that brand by what you do.
How do you reinforce a brand? Pursue roles, activities, and organizations that allow you the room to implement the brand. If you are seeking to become a community organizer, then join organizations centered around partisan or non-partisan political issues. Organize and hold gatherings where people come together to learn and discuss issues that are pertinent to that group.
While you do not necessarily need to be the leader, seek roles that have a direct effect on the success of the cause or organization.
Two common mistakes are over-involvement in non-brand roles, or complete lack of involvement in brand related roles.
Over-Involvement In Non-Brand Roles. You know who the main offenders for this are. This is the person who is co-chair of the local political organization, while also pursuing a television role in discussing fashion and local culture, and keeps popping up with some new “reinvention” of what they are doing now. Yes, this person deserves kudos because of her high energy. However, I think her example is not one that is sustainable over the long run.
Complete Lack of Involvement. This is the person who is a couch potato. Or they go to all the functions and belong to all the organizations, but they never take any initiative to seek a leadership role or something that is self-defining.
I meet people all the time that are content with their lot in life and have no ambition to push for more. This is ok, not everyone needs to be a high achiever and seek greatness. However, for those who dream of reaching for the stars, getting there is going to be extremely difficult unless they step out of their comfort zone and seek leadership roles or something that is brand building.
It’s Your Brand
Just as this final section title says…it’s your brand. You can develop it and control it, or you can let it languish. Or you can even destroy it.
Do you need to make drastic changes in your daily routine and involvement now? This all depends on the timeline that you have set out for yourself in which you need to achieve certain goals. Unless you are facing the need for a major adjustment in a short period of time, my suggestion is to not necessarily make any rash changes over night.
Assess your daily routine and those organizations and roles that you currently have. Which ones fit within the scope of your brand, and which ones do not? Once you have done this, come up with a plan to pull out of anything that would be counterproductive to the brand you want.
Now start to assess and determine which activities, roles, and organizations will enhance your brand. Use this as a benchmark assessment the next time you are asked to volunteer somewhere, or asked for join an organization. If these actions enhance and complement your brand, go for it. If they do not support your brand, then it is ok to say no.
Controlling your personal brand is an ongoing exercise that will need re-assessment from time to time. Keep in mind that you have the ability to affect the outcome of your personal brand. Good luck!
© 2012 Rex Humphries