I recently went to a talk titled ‘The Brand of You’ by Michael Lyons. He told the audience we are exposed to over 3,500 brand messages every day – and if you think about it, that shouldn’t really surprise us…
Think about a typical day – the alarm on your iPhone wakes you up, you go to brush your teeth with your Oral B toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste then take a shower using L’Oréal (because you’re worth it) and Imperial Leather. Is it Weetabix or Kellogg’s Cornflakes for breakfast today? Hop in your Ford Fiesta to get to work. At work you sit down at your Dell computer, with an Intel processor and Windows operating system. You get home, have Domino’s for tea (it’s Friday after all), play on the PlayStation with the kids for an hour before settling down to read a good book on your Amazon Kindle. Perhaps not the most exciting day but you get the idea.
But what about your personal brand? According to Lyons a first impression contributes to 80% of a lasting impression. Everything you do and say influences how people perceive you and every interaction is an opportunity to promote your personal brand.
Personal branding is important as you are not only a representative for your organisation but also yourself. Your brand helps you to build relationships, trust and credibility – enabling you to progress with your personal goals and ambitions.
There are four main elements which contribute to our personal brand; personal appearance, personality, competencies and differentiation.
Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is a great example of someone who is aware of her brand, of which personal appearance is a big part. She wants to be viewed as a style icon and to always be seen looking flawless – which is why when she leaves the gym, she looks like this:
Taylor Swift leaves the gym
During the talk we were given an exercise where we had to write five words to describe ourselves and five words to describe our partner – no pair matched up exactly. The point of the exercise was to demonstrate that people perceive us differently to how we believe we present ourselves. It is important to really pay attention to how we are presenting ourselves as it is the perception of us that becomes our brand.
The Brand of You
How can you build your brand though? Think about how you communicate, interact, use social networking platforms. Ensure how you act is in line with how you would like to be perceived and then use those networking platforms (such as LinkedIn) to engage with others and ‘promote’ your brand.
Although a first impression contributes to 80% of a lasting impression it is important to keep your personal brand consistent and build lasting relationships. Think back to those five words – how would you like to be perceived and what do you need to do to present that brand?