Personal Brand Damage Control: 8 Tips to Stay on Top at Work
Every day at work, you run the risk of damaging your personal brand - even
if you don't think you have one. How is this possible? Well, your personal
brand is the way people perceive, think, and feel about you in relation to
others. The people you work with already have perceptions, thoughts, and
feelings about you, so just by virtue of being "you" in the workplace, you
already have a personal brand.
The question is whether you have the personal brand you want. Is your brand
bringing you greater success, or is it actually holding you back? Not
knowing the answer to that question can mean the difference between a career
that stays land-locked and a career that skyrockets.
So, what are the best ways to keep personal brand damage under control?
1. Get clear about what your current brand stands for right now. This means
discovering how people perceive, think, and feel about you in the present
moment. Enlist a friend you trust to ask several work colleagues for the top
five words they would use to describe you. Are you described the way you
want to be? If not, your personal brand needs some adjustments.
2. Determine where you need to make changes. If you aren't happy with the
results of your research, that's good news. Why? Because it will clarify
exactly what you need to change in order to create the brand you want.
3. Define carefully what you want your brand to be. Once you have an idea of
where your current personal brand is failing, you need to define your
desired personal brand. Most people struggle with their personal brand
because they haven't taken the time to clearly define it. Not having a
personal brand definition is like meandering from point A to point B without
a map. You might get there eventually, but you'll make a lot of wrong turns
along the way.
So, take some time to consider: How do you want to be known? What are your
strengths, and how can you best fill the needs of your brand's "target
audience" - i.e., your boss, your colleagues, and/or your customers?
4. Learn how to communicate your brand effectively. Defining your desired
personal brand is an important first step, but if it remains on a piece of
paper in a drawer, it won't do you much good. In other words, no one's
perceptions, thoughts, or feelings about you will change unless and until
you communicate the personal brand you really want. So, keep your personal
brand definition in mind as you go about the top five activities that all of
us do every day. These activities best communicate what you stand for: Your
Actions, Reactions, Look, Sound, and even your Thoughts. The key to success
is being consistent with these five activities - in what you say, do, and
think - day-in and day-out.
Do you act like someone with your desired personal brand would act? Do you
stop yourself before reacting negatively to situations that arise? Do you
look and sound like someone with your desired personal brand? And yes, do
you think like someone with your desired personal brand? Thoughts are
incredibly powerful and can not only affect your own feelings but how others
perceive, think, and feel about you as well.
5. Avoid damaging your personal brand. After you have defined your personal
brand and created a plan for communicating it, you also need to take special
care to keep it intact. How do you do that? One way is to watch others, and
learn from their mistakes. Even if you don't know anyone personally who has
damaged their personal brand, you have certainly heard of celebrities who
have made serious blunders. For some of them, the damage has been so severe
that their careers have never bounced back. So, pay attention to what others
do that damages their personal brands, and avoid doing the same things.
6. Be aware of your own mistakes, and fix them quickly! If you do commit a
personal brand blooper, do whatever is necessary to fix it. Apologize for
it, show that you take responsibility for your errors, and go out of your
way to correct them. This works wonders to promote a positive personal
7. Learn from your errors to avoid making them again. When you realize your
brand has taken a beating after a mistake, ask yourself: "What did I learn
from this?" Write down the lessons, and make a commitment to never make that
8. Keep a good sense of humor! Most importantly, if you make a personal
branding mistake, be willing to laugh at yourself. Everyone likes to work
with someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously.
The truth is: Your personal brand is either working for or against you 365
days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you aren't taking control of
it by consciously defining and communicating a brand that brings you greater
success, you may actually be damaging it. You may even prevent yourself from
reaching your full potential. So, create the personal brand you want today,
and learn how to harness it. It can be one of the most powerful ways to move
forward in your career.
Brenda Bence, branding expert and certified executive coach, is the author
of "How YOU Are Like Shampoo," the only start-to-finish book for defining,
communicating, and taking control of your personal brand at work. After
graduating from Harvard Business School, Brenda developed mega brands for
Procter & Gamble and Bristol-Myers Squibb. She now travels the world
speaking, training and coaching on corporate and personal brand development.
For more information, visit: http://www.BrendaBence.com.