The Individual Brand

December 08, 2006

Posted in Personal and Small Business.

“A brand is nothing but the promise of an experience.”Robert Jones, Wolff-Olins

We accept that companies have a brand. We study it. We consciously work on ways to improve it. We hire expensive consultants to develop it.

What is lost on many people is how they, as individuals, also have a brand. Consider the quote above: “a brand is nothing but the promise of an experience.”

As a person, you have a particular perception of yourself. You’ve probably wondered whether that perception is in line with how other people perceive you. This outside perception is the first part of your brand.

While many of us have a hard time thinking of ourselves as offering an “experience,” we certainly understand that our personality and reputation can have effects on others. This is how your brand begins. Compared to a business, where clever PR and advertising campaigns can bolster a brand, most individuals must develop a brand through personal interaction.

In a job interview, your brand is largely created by your resume. You establish it in the interview process. Your brand is a promise – one that your future employer is buying into. Just as businesses must work hard to ensure that their actual performance (customer service, quality, price) lives up to their hard-earned brand, you must live up to the expectations of your employer in order to maintain your brand.

One of the worst things you can do to your career or business is to let your brand be damaged. You have to live up to the brand you desire.