Just as surely as building a powerful brand is the key to differentiating a product in the marketplace and thus building a successful business, so creating a strong personal brand is the key to differentiating yourself from your competitors, thereby ensuring your own success as well as that of your business. Your personal brand determines how people respond to you, whether they listen to you, buy from you, how much they buy, what they are willing to pay, and so on.
Promises You Make
Your personal brand makes a promise: “If you buy from me, you will receive a specific value in return.” This promised value will be born from the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes by which you become known. For example, you may want to create a personal image—a brand—of a person who always operates at a high level of integrity, consistently walks the talk, is an exemplary leader, and goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. Who is your ideal customer? What values, virtues, qualities, and attributes will he be looking for in a supplier of your product? Do you match this profile? If not, do you have a burning desire to be this kind of person? These are the key questions you must ask yourself when beginning to build your personal brand.
Promises You Keep
Unmet expectations are the arch enemy of any relationship. This is no less true in the relationship between you and your customers. Your brand as a person is determined in large part by whether you consistently deliver on your promises. Do you keep your word? Do you follow up? Do your words and actions match with the image you want to create—that is, with the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes you claim as your own? Constantly examine your behavior. When you slip, resolve to get back on track. To build and sustain a powerful personal brand, your message must be an accurate reflection on you, the messenger.
The Whole Package
Pay close attention to your entire image. Of course, your character is of paramount importance. But you make an impact on people in other ways as well. Your appearance—the clothes you wear, your personal grooming, your posture—has an enormous emotional impact on how other people see you, think about you, and relate to you. Your attitude is vital. If you are genuinely pleasant and cheerful in your interaction with others, they will enjoy being with you. They will be more inclined to trust you and do business with you.
Your overall behavior strongly influences the impressions others have on you. Be punctual for meetings and appointments. Be absolutely reliable, always keeping your word and your commitments. Should you fail in this area, communicate with the other person as quickly as possible, offering your apology, explanation, and assurance that it will not happen again. Pay close attention to the quality of your work. In the long run, there is nothing that will so determine your success in building and sustaining a powerful personal brand as turning out high-quality work, over and over again, and over a long period of time.