I’m often asked by clients and potential clients to create their brand. What I’ve learned over the years is that they are really asking is for me to create their logo. I have to often break the news and tell them that isn’t a brand. A brand is not a logo.
A brand is the thoughts, feelings, ideas, emotions that other’s have when they think of you. Depending on what you’ve done, that could be good or bad. What do people say behind your back? Do they sing your praises? Do they roll your eyes and wish they never met you? Whatever they’re saying, it’s because of what you have or have not done.
You won’t always know what people are saying or thinking because you can’t be everywhere all the time and you don’t know everyone. What you can do is work to influence what people are saying behind your back.
For example, when I lived in Washington, DC, I was a member of many female networking groups. In this group, one of the members is spotlighted on her website. At some point, everyone has a turn. You see, you don’t know when it’s going to be your day, but you know it’s coming! She made mention to others in a meeting I did not attend that she was featuring me that day.
When my name came up, some of the members said, “I love her work!” and “She’s my idol!” When I read those responses, I smiled big and was so happy. Now, I don’t know what I did to receive those comments other than to be myself and try to be as much help as I can to the other members. I think what made me feel even happier is that those in attendance at that meeting, I have never met before.
And while I will never know who said what, it let me know that people are watching, even when I don’t think they are and the way I manage my brand is working.
Managing your brand
Are you managing your brand? What are you doing to influence what other’s say about you behind your back? Yes, it’s easier to manage this when you are with people, but what about when you aren’t in the same physical space as others? What about your website? What about social media? What about podcast interviews? What about your marketing collateral? All of that matters!
More often than not, people are going to find you online before they ever meet you in person. By the time they get to you in person, the opinion has been formed. What they are going to say about you behind your back has already been decided. Can you change that opinion? Sure! But, why work backward? If you focus on your brand ahead of time, think about the decisions you make, and remain consistent, you won’t have to worry about backtracking.
So the next time you make a decision, even down to the smallest detail such as what you wear to a network meeting, think about how it affects your brand.
Need more help with your brand? Expand Your Brand is a great place to start!