Who does she think she is?
A friend of mine entered the bathroom stall one day as two co-workers entered the ladies room behind her. One turned to the other and said, “Have you met Jill Jones, the new VP of Marketing yet?”
Excited at being the topic of conversation, my friend listened on with glee! “Yes, I have,” said the other woman… “Who does SHE think she is?!?”
What?! My friend was mortified. Who was this controlling, manipulative, and domineering woman these ladies were discussing in idle gossip? It couldn’t possibly be my friend Jill – she is loving, caring, and generous. Or is she?
Beauty (and your brand) is in the eye of the beholder:
How others perceive us directly influences the value they will assign us. Do you think those ladies would include Jill in a teambuilding exercise? Would they invite her to cocktails after work with the group? Probably not.
We’ve heard it said before: Perception is everything. People form opinions about us based on many things – their own biases and prejudices, as well as our behavior. How we act influences how others see us. And how others see us affects the opportunities we get assigned. In the field of personal branding, we take control of our reputation (perception) in order to craft and manage our legacy. How do you want to be seen by others who matter (your audience)? What will it take to make that perception reality?
For someone like Jill, her behavior was inconsistent with someone who was caring and generous. When she lost her temper in meetings, the times she interrupted her staff, when she sent emails in “all caps,” she developed a reputation that was inconsistent with how she wanted to be perceived.
Effective branding focuses on that which is unique and authentic – no matter how good a marketing pro one may be, it’s impossible to turn water into wine just by labeling it so! When thinking about your personal brand, it is important to start with your strengths and uniqueness and build from that place. Then, identify your weaknesses and manage them.
Your brand is your most important personal asset. In business, our brand is what precedes us in meetings, conversations and relationships we have with those who can make or break our career. Think about the client who is reluctant to meet with you because he has heard you are “difficult to deal with.” Imagine how hard a relationship will be if your client perceives you this way.
Similarly, if you are seen as genuine, helpful and collaborative, think of the teams, relationships and opportunities you might be presented with!