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Embrace your brand. It’s your promise. It’s your word. It’s the trust, knowledge and confidence you communicate to your customers, the community, and the industry you interact with and react to every nanosecond. Break your brand, and you’ll be breaking your heart and your aspirations.
Quite simply, your brand is what others believe to be your value, and is expressed more often than not upon having your name come up during a third-party conversation. Keep in mind, brands are built by individuals, not organizations. The person’s view may not be true, in fact, it may be completely off the mark. Regardless, it’s their truth.
When you let others define your brand it’s like an alien force that invades your mind and body. It wants to immediately mold your reputation and worse yet, potentially denigrate your self-confidence and perceived worth. Don’t cede the power of you.
Speaking from my own experience, you can launch—or relaunch—your brand by being true to what you inherently know to be your strengths and has proven to make you successful and happy. Blastoff:
Be your own version of extraordinary—ordinary is boring. Subscribing to the status quo can often be debilitating, as well as regressive in your personal pursuits and professional aspirations. Making that extra effort—no matter how small or insignificant you may believe it to be at the time—is deemed to be significant and at times monumental to others. You may not even realize your dedication and principled approach for a given project has taken a major—and yes, extraordinary—burden off the backs of your customers, colleagues, and management.
Revel in reliability, relevance and believability. Ever feel uneasy when you need to depend on others with unknown, inconsistent or questionable track records to get the job done? There’s nothing worse than when you begrudgingly need to rely on these folks to deliver performance that reflects directly on your reputation, your character and in summary—your brand. I believe that there’s nothing considered sexier in the C-suite than a colleague you can depend upon to deliver ROI results without sacrificing performance. The colleague becomes a trusted and relied upon resource and partner. The aura of subservience and the constructs of a traditional supplier relationship gradually melt away.
Decide to make a positive difference, even under difficult circumstances. This is easy to state, but tough to realize. It can, and arguably should be uncomfortable to offer different perspectives other than the norm, or for that matter knowing you must agree with a group for the short term, until your own position with grounded recommendations are fully formed and vetted. Indeed, silence is golden, but it should not be mistaken for indifference or worse yet, ignorance. The silence should be thought-provoking and absorbing until you can offer value that will benefit the organization and advance your brand.
Be humble, but not timid. There’s a big difference. Over the years, I’ve experienced some of the brightest minds vanquished due to lacking the courage of their convictions to establish or maintain their brands. Although in most cases you should let the work speak for itself, thereby enabling your brand to shine, there are instances when you need to unplug a few ears from all the elevator music, that others are happy to endorse and contribute. Don’t be embarrassed. It is mutually beneficial to gently, yet directly remind key stakeholders the value you created as part of a collaborative team or independently. There’s no shame in the truth.
Most importantly, don’t let any individual or organization define you. Own your brand and you will own your destiny.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine.