Visit a Starbucks anywhere in the world, and you will encounter a familiar experience: friendly, knowledgeable baristas who serve made to order cups of coffee in recognizable green and white cups. Starbucks’ memorable brand builds trust with customers and keeps them coming back, even though they often pay a bit more for their favorite beverage.
Companies spend millions to create and promote compelling brands that effectively communicate who they are and what they offer. Every company has a brand—and so do you. Whether you know it or not, everything you wear, say, and do—both online and offline—defines your brand. So, what exactly are you promoting? Are you branded for success or failure?
Your personal brand is your most valuable business asset; it is how people remember you. Your brand is created through your appearance, your behavior, and your communication—it is the way others see you, and is what differentiates you from others. Your brand should communicate a clear message, confirm credibility, and create trust.
Instead of resolving to spend more days at the gym or shed those stubborn last ten pounds, perhaps your energy would be better served by resolving to audit your most powerful tool—your personal brand. Just as you audit your finances each year, why not endeavor to audit yourself?
When was the last time you reviewed your personal brand? The first of the year is the perfect time to do so, especially if you seek to advance your career. What got you here may not take you where you want to go. Moreover, your brand can become outdated or tarnished and not even serve your current position well.
Audit your personal brand by reviewing your appearance, behavior, and communication to determine whether you are creating a consistently clear and credible impression.
Your Business Appearance
Your brand begins with your appearance. Clothing, accessories, grooming, and posture send an instant message to those you encounter. Are you providing visual signals that you are capable, qualified, and promotable?
- Are your skin and nails well groomed?
- Is your hairstyle current, in good condition, and daily maintained?
- Is your clothing up to date, in excellent condition, and free from wrinkles, stains, and pet hair?
- Does your clothing fit well and communicate the proper level of authority? For example, straight lines, darker colors, high contrast, firm fabrics, structured and fitted clothing communicate the highest level of authority.
- Do you stand, sit, and walk with excellent posture?
Attention to detail—not a large bank account—is all that is required to obtain a professional image. You must maintain a consistently polished appearance to cultivate a strong personal brand.
Your Business Behavior
A powerful personal brand communicates credibility through authentic, consistent behavior. None of us want to be that person who looks fabulous but behaves in a manner that negatively impacts their credibility. People are drawn to those they know, like, and trust. What does your behavior communicate about you?
- Do you conduct introductions with confidence and poise?
- Do you know how to give a proper handshake, and how to read the subtle messages revealed by a person’s handshake?
- Are your dining skills flawless?
- Are you on time, or do you communicate disrespect to others by constantly being late?
- Do you show up prepared for meetings?
- Is your attention on your cell phone or the people you are with?
- Does your attitude inspire others or drain the energy from the room?
Your behavior has the potential to draw people to you. Every act of kindness, gratitude, and respect adds strength to your personal brand.
Your Business Communication
Your communication is the final element of your brand. It is not enough to simply select appropriate clothing and execute your etiquette skills like a pro; you must also master your verbal, non-verbal, and written communication. What does your communication reveal about you?
- Do your facial expressions communicate warmth and sincerity?
- Do you know how to launch, linger, and leave a conversation?
- Does your tone of voice support your message or shut people down?
- Are you harnessing the power of your non-verbal messages?
- Do you habitually communicate gratitude both verbally and in writing?
- Are your emails succinct, grammatically correct, and sent to the proper recipients?
- Do you think before you text or post on social media?
Preparation is the key to successful communication. Effective communication does not just happen. With time and effort, you can fortify your personal brand by becoming an excellent communicator.
We, at Final Touch, are here to help you audit your personal brand. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like personalized assistance. We would love to help you enter 2017 with a bang, and have several different options to help you reach your goals, including:
- Private sessions with personal one-on-one coaching
- Customized programs for individuals or groups
- Corporate training sessions for all levels
- Executive level coaching and training
- Public sessions, including one-day, weekend, or week-long courses for men, women, and youth.
Companies are constantly updating, improving, and reinventing their brands, and so should you. Your next promotion depends on it.
I hope 2017 will be filled with continued progress and new achievements for you. We look forward to hearing about your success!
©2017 What Would Mrs King Do? If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog, you may do so. Please include our credit information: Written by Deborah King, What Would Mrs King Do? © Copyright 2016. I would also appreciate it if you would send us a copy for our files to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to learn more about social skills, contact Final Touch Finishing School, Inc.