Everybody has a brand. Some people’s brand is “He is always late”; other people’s brands are “She is always so helpful” or “She is always the first to leave.” “He is such a hard worker.” “She is so committed.” The list goes on. Everybody has a personal brand—what do you want yours to be?
Some people overcommit and under-deliver; as a result, their brand becomes unreliable. Some people crush whatever project you give them. That becomes their brand. And every team has that person who wants the ball in those last seconds when it matters most, when one shot is the difference between winning and losing—the person who always comes through when it really matters. That’s his personal brand.
Most people’s personal brand is developed by default. They didn’t set out to create that brand; it just happened. What happens to organizations that just let their brand happen? Right, they probably go out of business.
Organizations spend billions of dollars creating and perpetuating their brand. The least you can do is be intentional about it. What do you want your brand to be? Define it. Then after a year, ask the people you work with to write down anonymously what they think your brand is in the workplace. You’ll need thick skin. Great brands have thick skin. Use what you learn from the feedback to hone your brand the following year.
Where should you start? That’s up to you, but if you are stuck, start with the big three: Committed, coachable, and aware. If that became your brand, wow, that would be amazing!
If you are committed, coachable, and aware, you will succeed. It is a recipe for success at anything, personally and profession-ally. Get really, really good at these three things, even if your organization doesn’t embrace them. These are the three best things you can do for both your career and your life. Imagine a marriage in which both partners are committed, coachable, and aware. Imagine parents who are committed, coachable, and aware. Imagine being committed, coachable, and aware in the area of personal finance or health and well-being.
The point is, whether we have ever thought about it or not, everyone has a brand, and your brand starts on day one. So, whether today is your first day at an organization or you have been there for ten years, make today day one. When a new president takes office, a lot of attention is paid to what he or she will accomplish in the first one hundred days. If today is your new day one, what are you going to accomplish in your first one hundred days? Take this seriously and a hundred days from now people will be saying, “Wow, she has really stepped it up!”
Whatever you want your brand to be, write it down, read it daily, and do at least one thing every day to demonstrate that brand. Great brands are always before us. I have often wondered what would happen if Coke stopped advertising for a year. They would save billions, but would people drink less Coke after one year? Who knows? Two years? Risky. Five years? I am certain their brand and sales would take a hit. Keep your brand in front of people every day.
—Matthew Kelly, The Culture Solution