Your personal brand(s) should be logical, consistent, and clear to both you and those around you.
It’s not enough to decide what your brands will be. These brands should fit who you are, be obvious, and not waver day-to-day. No one is born with a brand- unless your family is a community, historical, or cultural icon. Brands are something that we develop over time.
These are brands that your community, friends, and target audience naturally buy into based on who you are, how they have interacted with you, and what you have experience in.
Gordon Ramsay made his first big restaurant debut in May 2012, in Vegas with Gordon Ramsay Steak. Naming a restaurant after the owner, or a licensed name of a famous person is nothing new. However, not all celebrity names attached to restaurants are logical extensions for what they are known for. Prior to his Vegas debut, Gordon Ramsay has been best known stateside for his reality chef television shows, rather than his lesser-known restaurants. Opening a namesake restaurant in Vegas (a hyper-competitive market for high end restaurants), seems logical in the evolution of Gordon Ramsay’s brand. In this competitive market, his brand should pull in a strong following of tourists eager to eat at a restaurant of a well-known celebrity chef.
An acquaintance offered to become my financial advisor. Because I knew a few people who had hired her to advise them, there was some credibility in listening to her. However, when I considered other factors, it was no longer logical. She was in her mid-to-late 20’s, and splitting rent with her brother. Aside from a large network of friends, she had no obvious expertise. I passed on the offer.
Building consistent brands means pursuing opportunities, jobs, and responsibilities that match who you are. If you are not great with financial responsibility then don’t volunteer to handle the money for an organization. However, if you’re expertise is in marketing and advertising, volunteer on the marketing committee for a local charity.
Part of building a brand is protecting it as well. If you know your skill set is in deal making and strategy, don’t volunteer for the board secretary or treasurer role. Even if you perform well in either of these positions, taking on any roles outside of your personal brand is both wasteful and potentially harmful.
Clear brands are those brands that others can articulate without any help.
When you are not around do people comment on how great of a relationship builder you are? Do they know that you are a commercial real estate expert? If you are in the financial planning field, does your personal life reflect your expertise in this area?
Building a clear brand is something that takes a bit longer than logical or consistent brands. We are able to directly influence the logical and consistency of our brands, which indirectly affects the clarity of our brands. Ideally our friends, community, and audience should ‘get’ who we are and what we stand for. And over time with consistency in what we do, say, stand for, etc. they will.
Most people do not think about the importance of their brands being logical, consistent, and clear. In fact when asked, most people do not think personal brands really matter for them. In a perfect world it would be great not to worry about this. However, looking around at the high unemployment levels, stalled careers, and general malaise of trying to find a new job…it’s always a good time to re-think your personal brands and figure out just where you may need to adjust, focus, or tweak.
Is your personal brand logical, or illogical? Do you have a consistent and clear brand?
© 2012 Rex Humphries