Brand “You” – How to Develop Your Personal Brand
Every year, BusinessWeek and InterBrand collaborate on a survey of the Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in the world. As expected, big companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft, McDonalds, and Coca-Coca routinely top the list. What astonished me was the total estimated value of these brands: $2,000,000,000,000.
That’s two trillion dollars
And that’s just the value of the brands. That number doesn’t account for the infrastructure, the people, and everything else that makes up the business. Two trillion dollars of value contained in a few trademarks and logos. How can that be?
It all boils down to one word: trust
A brand is nothing but a symbol of trust. When I walk into McDonalds, I know exactly what I’m going to get, in terms of both price and quality. When I use Google’s search engine, I trust that I’ll find the information I need. This is true no matter where I am in the world – I can trust these companies to provide consistent results. Most importantly, I’m willing to pay a substantial premium for the privilege.
But brands aren’t just limited to big companies anymore. Today, each person has their own brand – what I like to call brand “You.”
Brand “You” is basically the set of skills and personality traits that people believe you at. Like all brands, its based on previous results. If you are easy to work with, word will get around, and your personal brand will go up. But it’s a double-edged sword – your brand can also be tarnished and it can take a long time to recover. Here are a few tips to help enhance Brand “You.”
Follow Up on Your Commitments:
Simply put, do what you say you’re going to do. This sounds easy, but it’s amazing how many people don’t follow it. If you can’t do something, don’t commit to it. This way, people know exactly what to expect out of you.
I used to work with a product manager who excelled at this. If he was asked to do something, he would provide an estimated cost and timeframe, and stuck to it without fail. He did his research before making a commitment and made sure that he could always follow through. Over the years, he leveraged this reputation into some pretty substantial economic rewards.
Develop a Specialty:
It is generally better to be world-class at one precise category than it is to be a jack-at-all-trades. Figure out your strengths and develop your skills accordingly. Making yourself an “authority” at something that people need is a surefire way to increase your value. One of my close friends is a lawyer living in Brazil who specializes in language translation from Chinese to Portuguese. She is one of only a few lawyers who can speak both languages and is always in demand. She commands great hourly rates and will always have a job.
Make sure people know what you can do. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn to establish your credentials and get referrals. One of my friends answered a bunch of questions on LinkedIn Answers. One guy was so impressed by his answers that he ended up making my friend a job offer. Being great at something doesn’t really matter if no one knows about it.
Pay Attention to the Little Things:
Everyone has pet peeves, little things that bother them a lot more than they should. For me, it’s timeliness. I absolutely hate when people keep me waiting. For others, it might be neatness or attention to details. By the way, these are things that I’m really not good at so if you have any tips on how to improve, please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me.
These are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear more. What are some tricks you’ve used to build “Brand You?” Please leave comments below.