11 Power Branding Truths by Roz Usheroff
The following is an excerpt from a recent interview I gave on Personal Branding and The Future of You!
What are the specific steps to take, to create one’s “personal brand?”
Before I offer my opinion on ‘personal branding’, it’s important to know that branding is a vehicle for showcasing that which makes you distinctive, memorable, trusted and valued. This becomes the blueprint for your reputation. Of course, we’re all individuals but unless we’re able to differentiate our brand, our individuality will become invisible.
When I first began my business 23 years ago, I assumed people felt comfortable with me and saw my value. Then I overheard someone describing me as Count Dracula’s Bride. Yikes, that really hurt so I did research and discovered that I was too harsh looking, too business focused and just too direct.
So, the first and most important step is to identify what your brand stands for. Does it showcase your values and the principles by which you live? The next step is to conduct a reality check. Determine how it aligns with the perceptions of others and then be willing to remake or reshape yourself so that who you truly are, aligns with how others see you and the value that you can and will bring to their lives. This may mean that you’ll need the courage and determination to seek out feedback to identify the gaps between reality and perception. The last step is to identify and promote your core strengths and unique abilities to reinforce your true value “brand” proposition.
How does one elevate their professionalism?
The best way to present oneself as a true professional can be summed up in a single word . . . consistency. When I talk about consistency, I’m referring to it in the context of how you treat or respond to others regardless of their position or social status. Who you are and how you act should not be determined by status. Honor your commitments, over-deliver and focus on consistent self-improvement. Dress to showcase your brand’s best book cover and finally, learn how to conduct yourself with ease at business events.
How does one identify their personal value and differentiators?
Years ago, a former boss told me that the only way I would be successful as an entrepreneur was to be so different that I would no longer have competition. He believed that if I differentiated myself, I would always stand out. His wisdom has resonated with me for over 23 years and now I challenge my clients to carve out their own unique differentiation. To truly stand out from the pack, you have to realize that it’s not about you, but those you seek to serve. It is also important to note that differentiators will be most effective if they reflect your brand’s core values and the difference you make to others.
In order to identify how others perceive your greatest strengths, expertise and value, I recommend to new coaching clients to conduct their own marketing research. By that I mean to ask business colleagues (all levels, of course) the following question. “If you were going to open your own company, what position would you hire me for and why?” Once you know what other people consider to be your unique abilities, you’ve laid the foundation for what makes you different and valued. Now, it’s all about using these strengths where you are most appreciated.
What are the common pitfalls to success? How can they be overcome?
Where do I begin? I’m sure we both can write a book on this topic. So…I’ve selected those that I believe can be avoided and repaired. And I speak from actual experience. In my second job, I thought I was doing an amazing job. Sales were up and customers were happy. Unfortunately, my boss was not as impressed because he felt I was too much of a fighter. After he fired me, he complimented me for standing up for what I believed. He added, however, that I didn’t fit into the culture and had to learn to play the game.
Success can sometimes create a disconnect in one’s career, when you start to believe your own press. To avoid this pitfall, adopt a “Servant Leadership” mindset that puts the focus on how you can help others to succeed. It’s by ensuring the success of others that you yourself will become and remain successful.
Sometimes success becomes a curse when you believe your positive view of your performance speaks for itself. You must continually seek out feedback to see if those in power use the same benchmark for measuring success.
Another common pitfall is being so caught up in “winning” that you lose your ability to “see around corners”. You’ve got to anticipate unexpected circumstances and have a contingency plan.
In the end success, like perfection or the pursuit of excellence, is an ongoing journey. To remain vibrant and relevant, you must vie success as a destination at which you never arrive.
How does one become memorable?
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Earlier I talked about the fact that your brand is the sum of every experience others have had with you.
Becoming memorable is ultimately based on the impression you made on someone’s life beyond simply doing a job or showing up for a meeting. It’s every experience others have with you.
Are you a positive person, do people enjoy being around you? Do people walk away from an encounter with you feeling better about themselves?
To truly become memorable for the “right reasons”, people have to see you as a positive force in their lives from both a results and emotional standpoint.
How do you build a “fan base?”
As I wrote in my book, you not only have to build your fan base, you have to mobilize it as well.
In answering the previous questions, I have provided you with the framework for building a fan base, by directing your focus to how you can make a difference in someone else’s life. A fan base is not simply a list of names or contacts. A fan base is earned through the experiences that others have had with you and, how you have enabled them to realize their goals. If you help someone to succeed, they will become a fan.
The next step is to mobilize your fan base.
As you already know, people talk to one another. What are they saying about you? The more people that you help, the more people there will be to share how you made a difference in their lives. This creates opportunities for introductions.
In the end, your fan base is the cumulative result of your efforts to make a difference in the lives of others.
You can access the entire interview through the following link.