Who Are You? Make The Most Of Your Personal Branding

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit this; I’m a NCIS fan. I never used to be. I’m not even sure how it happened. I don’t even particularly like the lead actor, Mark Harmon.  Somehow, I still got hooked a few years back. I always try to catch the current season’s offerings, along with all the reruns, all the time, no matter how many times the episode’s been on.

Which leads me to talking about Gibbs. Not about Mark Harmon.

About Gibbs’s character and about how Gibbs brands himself.  He has his rules, his assertive stares, his follies, his pain. If you are an NCIS fan you know what I mean.  And, oh yes, he also has his coffee!  Check out that cup. No matter if you enjoy a cup of joe, or prefer tea instead, you know the image the producers are aiming for.  No, it’s not that famous label on the cup, but something so close, you see it for what it’s worth. And that’s a lot of money!

Branding for a company brings value and quality to a product and emotion to the sale. It unites employees as a family working towards a common goal.  Branding is also important on a personal level.  Just like Jethro Gibbs.   Your brand, how you present yourself, reflects not only upon your company, it brings value to you as an employee and as a person. Adding social media to this mix, good or bad, has done something else for us; it presents our personal brand to the world.  If you look over all those posts you’ve made in the past, maybe going back many years (ouch!) – How many of those posts make you cringe now?

Branding ourselves means understanding that everything we do, everything we write, every time we present ourselves, our brand is being reinforced.  Consider the following:

  • Your recorded voice message: Express yourself in a clear, concise, and courteous manner. Identify yourself (your personal brand), your company. If requesting a caller do something, be polite and clear in your message.  Keep that smile on your face and always thank the caller for contacting you. Once you record your message, review it. Does it send the message you want people to hear?
  • Phone calls: Ever been surprised to reach the live person or conversely, get that recorded message? Be ready for anything.  Know how you’ll open a conversation and how to keep it going, or what to say when leaving a message.  It’s not impressive when the message you leave sounds as if you’re fumbling through that big, old purse of yours!
  • Emails: Whether an email is of a personal nature or a representation of your employer, your brand, along with your company’s branding, is important.  Many companies require employees follow a standardized procedure when creating an email; use of the company template, a certain font, always their logo, and a branded signature.  Your personal brand has an impact as well.  Represent yourself in a manner and style that creates an emotional bond between you and your audience.  Strike a balance between too formal and too casual. Keep your brand consistent from email to email, message to message.
  • LinkedIn: It’s not just for job hunting any more.  It’s your logo.  Does your LinkedIn page create an excitement about you that people want to read about? Does it energize people to want to know more?  Does it connect emotionally with the reader? Just as with voice mails, phone messages and email, your LinkedIn page needs to follow professional guidelines.
  • Facebook/Twitter/SnapChat/Pinterest/Etc.: You hear it all the time – If you post it on the internet, it’s forever. Even with apps that offer the option of the history not being recorded, if someone saw it, it’s a record and who’s to say they haven’t shared it, made a screenshot or anything else?  Whether you use these apps for business or for personal use, keep an eye toward the content and headings you place on your posts.  Make use of any settings that separate acquaintances from family and close friends.  As with your LinkedIn and email habits, keep your brand in mind and be consistent when representing yourself.

When someone says “Gibbs” we create a mental image of someone that’s been reinforced in our psyche for many years.  So, too, your personal brand should be a stamp, an emotional connection between everyone else in the world and who you are.

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