- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’
Making the decision to change careers and then taking the big plunge to actually change careers is hard enough. I know what it is like. I remember it all too well. Sometimes I look back and wonder where I ever got the nerve or the courage. I have even asked myself if I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now. The answer is always a resounding “yes”.
Changing careers is scary because there are so many unknowns. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions, including:
– Will I like my new career better than my current career?
– Will I be a success?
– Will I make enough money to live comfortably?/ Can I pay the bills to survive?
Part of the difficulty in changing careers is the unsettling notion we have about how we can conform who we are, as individuals, to the new job. The problem is that most of us identify ourselves with our careers and jobs. If you asked me 15 years ago who I was, I would have told you I was a lawyer.
Clients often say to me that they do not know how to represent themselves (ie, position their personal brands) in networking events, on business cards and in front of others in general. For example, one client practiced as a CPA for twenty years before switching careers to go into the mortgage industry. Not only did she have a challenge with what to verbally say as she introduced herself and her new career, but she also had reservations around her visual brand- how does a mortgage industry specialist show up in public? Is it the same as a CPA or not? More conservative or less? The list was endless, understandably.
The hesitation and confusion is understandable. There is a very real loss of self followed by self-discovery in this process. You have to go through the journey of figuring out how to distinguish yourself and your new personal brand within the context of the your new industry and career. This requires you to know your uniqueness and your story around it. Then you need to find the overlap in your uniqueness, talents and story between your two careers.
So ask yourself: 1) are you ready for a change? 2) would a new career make you happier possibly in the long run? 3) do you have a contribution to society that fuels your passion and purpose? 4) where are the commonalities and differences in your two careers and your skill-set and offerings- ie, where are YOU the same in each career?
So many of us expend tons of energy daily in an effort to build a successful business brand or be an effective employee in order to build a successful business brand. The end result is that we are putting our valuable energy toward an end result without a plan for how to get there. Even worse, we are often tired, angry and bitter- wondering why all our effort is not working and never stopping to take a breath.
In personal brand management, I’m always talking about creating an intentional brand. Your business brand success or your position as an employee starts with YOU and YOUR personal brand. Without having an idea of why you do what you do or what plan you have for how you want to be perceived, nothing else works. You cannot build a house without a foundation. Just the same, you need to first have a personal brand (along with your personal branding goals, etc) so that you have an intentional trajectory from which your business brand and your job success grows and builds.
In many ways, an intentional brand means you allow a recovery period so you can rest, rejuvenate and reflect. In this way, you are more creative and have time to just “be” still.
So stop and think about:
– WHY you get up each morning?
– What do you want others to perceive of you each day?
-Are you projecting out a brand that gets you seen and heard in a good way? If not, what can you change?
I’ve seen a nasty progression of events for many entrepreneurs. The bigger the business gets the more diluted and dissipated the brand messaging gets. That goes for the personal brand messaging of the owner and employees, as well as for the business brand. This happens for products and services.
It’s almost as if the business gets away from the owner/CEO- among all the product and service lines, price points, prospecting, hiring/firing, etc., the brand message fails because the “two Cs”- clarity and consistency go out the window. Part of the reason this happens is that: 1) there has been no “intentional brand” development of the CEO/Owner 2) the employees’ personal brands have not been developed and 3) there has been no meeting of the minds on how the employees’ personal brands will integrate to represent the business brand well. As a result, employees are all over the place “marketing” the business brand based on their own methods/ideas. Various employees represent/misrepresent their personal brand and the business brand differently- lacking congruity, causing dilution.
All of this would have been cured had their been a deep inhale at the top followed by some awareness and recognition of the brand and how it should be positioned and disseminated to the market. All this would likely have been facilitated by hiring an outside expert, ideally.
So stop and think:
– Do you have an “intentional personal brand”?
– Do your employees have an intentional personal brand?
– Is everyone aware of the business brand and how their personal brand integrates into the business brand?
– Got a strategy to position all brands effectively and with maximum reach/minimum dilution?
Mergers and acquisitions are a topic from my previous career as an attorney. However, it applies to personal brand management just as well. We see the impact, first-hand, of what happens to the corporate brands when two entities merge as a result of an acquisition. It’s often times anything but pretty- for the companies involved and all the employees. I was recently interviewed on this topic. See the video below or click on the link http://http://vimeo.com/65261213.
In personal brand management, we are always looking at the two “C”s, clarity and consistency. When two companies merge, we find the clarity and consistency of the brands (both corporate and personal brands of the people) take a big hit.
I was having lunch recently with an employee who had witnessed his company be acquired by another. He was anything but happy by the new corporate brand. He felt completely lost and left out of his “new” company. He was telling me he felt like his voice no longer mattered- that the new company had forced their beliefs and procedures and entire brand philosophy on his acquired company. As a result, he was disillusioned and wondering how long he could take it anymore.
Personal brand management is about feeling unique, owning your uniqueness and communicating your best qualities with confidence to your target market. It is extremely hard to work somewhere when you think your company (and you) no longer matters. We find employees’ self-confidence and ability to express their unique qualities is eroded often to a point of no return. When the trust factor fails, productivity decreases and a quality personal brand fades fast.
The key is for management to have a solid brand consolidation plan post-mergers. This plan MUST include a personal brand management portion so that each employee understands: 1) the new corporate brand messaging and positioning and 2) their own personal brand so they can fit well within the new entity and produce results and be in harmony with other employees.
In my line of work, we are always studying perception value: that of clients’, their target market, the public’s, etc. We do this in an effort to be able to accurately gauge, and thus control that almighty first impression. You know the moment, even if you want to try and forget some of the not-s0-good ones you’ve had. It’s all about when you first notice someone- from across the crowded networking room or at a meeting. Do they “sit” well with you or not? Do you “like” them or not? Do they look smart and credible or not?
So what exactly equals a good first impression? Is it something we can quantify somehow so we can recreate the success formula over and over again- or at least know when we don’t see it?
A litigator was recently lamenting to me about a jury trial she was involved with. She was really upset because she had lost the case as the prosecution, but not on the merits, in her opinion. The jury had said that they did not find the defendant to be the harasser (ie, guilty) because he had been “nice” to his wife in the courtroom when he had opened the court gate door for her. So in essence it appears, at least on first blush, that the jury was more swayed by the defendant’s demeanor towards women, ie being a gentleman, rather than the evidence.
Lesson: first impressions go a long way, even in jury trials. It’s all about that first impression we form that we just cannot shake, despite the facts to the contrary even sometimes.
In my opinion, first impressions are a moving target because you cannot predict the mindset of the audience who first perceives you. However, you are firmly in control of how YOU want to show up at first and the energy and personal brand you want to lead with when you meet new people and leave first impressions. If you believe you are doing and resonating your best self and best personal brand, then we will all get a fabulous first impression from you. As humans, it is not always conscious processing we go through to get there, but nevertheless we consciously know and feel the end result- whether we like you and want to get to know you better or not.
SO GO OUT THERE AND MAKE A FABULOUS FIRST IMPRESSION AND COME TELL US ABOUT IT.