Whether you consciously develop it or not, you have a personal brand. Your boss, clients, co-workers, and anyone else with whom you interact have an impression of you. You can’t control someone’s perception of you. What you can control is the image you present, such as your appearance, communication style, interactions with others, online presence, and work ethic, which then translates to the impression that others form about you. These things and more contribute to your personal brand. If your perceived brand is not the brand you desire, it is time for a brand makeover. Take three steps to makeover your brand.
1.) Assess Your Current Brand
How do you know it’s time for a makeover? Pay attention to feedback, including LinkedIn endorsements, informal office chatter, client comments or surveys, honest criticism from trusted peers, and performance evaluations from your manager. If others identify brand qualities that are not aligned with your intended brand, it is time for a makeover.
Some changes to your personal brand are quick fixes, such as a new more professional wardrobe, updated hairstyle, a more organized desk, better posture, and updated social media profiles. Those items are a good starting point for your makeover, but they only represent a visual style.
2.) Think Old School for a Better Brand
Now that the superficial changes are complete, it is time to dig deeper. Your appearance supports a strong first impression. However, solid personal brands are created over time and through numerous encounters. Even though “branding” is a modern term, the concept of personal branding dates back to the dawn of civilization. For example Julius Caesar, one of the most brilliant politicians, was protective of his personal brand and a keen observer of those around him.
There are numerous books, workshops, and college courses on personal branding. Today, let’s kick-it old school and turn to a tried and trusted source, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Published in 1936, this book is as relevant today as ever. The book provides advice covering many areas, including increasing popularity, prestige, and work productivity. Carnegie offers numerous practical techniques for better communication and interaction with others. The book’s popularity is due to the easy-to-understand strategies that are grounded in psychology and human principles of behavior.
3.) Maintain and Enhance Your Brand over Time
Now that you have learned new tactics to optimize your brand, strive to consistently present and continuously protect your brand. For example, if your goal is for trust and loyalty to be major tenants of your brand, make certain that you always speak the truth, clearly say what you mean, and stay true to your promises. If you are mostly honest, don’t expect to remembered as someone who can be trusted. Making big changes to your communication style and breaking bad habits can be challenging. The key is to keep trying and soon the new habits will be second nature to you.
Take time to assess your personal brand. It may be time for a complete makeover or perhaps just an enhancement. Brand development is not a one-and-done activity. Your brand is something that you will continue to develop and refine throughout your life. Check out the classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and don’t be surprised when you learn several key brand-building lessons along the way.