Your Brand Has to Stand Up to Scrutiny
“Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity.” William Shakespeare
Imagine a company trying to claim a false brand- Philip Morris claiming health, BP claiming safety and corporate responsibility, or Facebook claiming privacy. It wouldn’t work, and it would actually hurt their image. I have led team-building meetings where people shared with their co-workers what they thought their personal brand was. Many got nods of agreement, but many got puzzled looks and even expressions of derision: “Yeah, sure- in your dreams.”
For your brand to be of value, it has to be authentic and true. If you want your brand to be that of a caring leader, you must actually care about people and have good leadership skills. If you want your brand to be as a reliable and trustworthy co-worker, you must be dependable and not break confidences. Everyone wants a positive brand, but you can’t have a positive brand simply by declaring it- you have to deserve it. False personal branding is exposed quickly, resulting in an even worse brand.
During interviews, be prepared with stories and examples that support your brand. If you declare yourself a good communicator, have examples of using communication to achieve a success, and be sure you communicate well during the interview. If you brand yourself an expert[md]which you probably are have stories and examples that support your expertise.
Here is an example of a well-supported brand: One of my clients sold large, expensive medical devices, including MRI machines to hospitals. When developing an interview presentation, he chose the personal brand word “competitive” as one of the terms to represent his brand. I asked, “Joe, every salesperson brands himself as competitive. How are you going to prove your competitive brand?” He replied, “Eric, let me tell you how competitive I am. When I sell large medical equipment, I only have a few competitors. So when I go into a sales situation, I study the hospital to which I am selling, and I study the salespeople against whom I am competing. I know their strengths, weaknesses, track records, and employment history. So not only do I sell to the hospital, but I sell against my competition. In at least two situations, my competition did so poorly that they fired their entire sales staff[md]that’s how competitive I am.” I was convinced!