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Brands, brands, brands. We’re surrounded by them. Every day. Everywhere, a brand or many brands vie for our attention.

If I asked you to think of some, or notice what’s next to you right now, you’re probably visualising a symbol or design of a famous name. There is a habit of championing our favourites, and then there are those we choose to avoid (for all sorts of reasons).

I wonder, do you ever think of yourself as a brand? For the ordinary individual on the street, it’s perhaps not the first word we might use when describing ourselves and yet, essentially, that’s what we are.

The concept of personal branding is not a new one, particularly in today’s ever-evolving world of social media. Have you ever taken time to ask yourself: ‘What is my personal brand? How do I see myself? How do I show up? Building a personal brand can open up opportunities, particularly in business. After all, even if you work for a company, it’s our connection with others that builds successful relationships.

Of course, brands are all about perception and we dismiss the notion of perception at our peril because another’s perception is their reality. So, thinking about how we would like others to perceive us lies at the heart of brand building. Think about describing one of your favourite brands to a friend and consider all the words that spring to mind as you describe why this brand is important to you — stylish? Dependable? Innovative? Exciting? Fun? Reliable?

Does it matter what the management team of a company thinks of their brand? Not really. What’s important is their customers’ opinion. Your brand is ultimately what other people think of you. Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon sums it up well: “A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”.

So, what impression would you like to leave in the room with them?

Ask yourself questions to help you realise how you impact others — here are a few for starters:

  • How do I make people think and feel?
  • How do others benefit from working with me?
  • How would others describe me?
  • How do my actions and language support the values that are important to me?
  • How often do I put myself in others’ shoes to truly understand their needs and wants?

Knowing how you show up means having a strong sense of self-awareness. This is also an essential must-have in becoming an effective leader. The more you know yourself, the better you are at leading yourself and others, however knowing how others perceiveyou is also crucial. So ask for feedback — seek out what others think of you. Ask someone who knows you well, learn from those insights and say thank you. And, through this process, discover what your brand is.

Is how you show up to others important to you?

Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at tania@twcreativecoaching.com.

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