Okay, there are many reasons why I love British Actor Colin Firth. I won’t bore you with most of them (wink), but a recent quote of his on a TV interview got me thinking. He said, “You get a brand attached to you sometimes whether you invite it or not.” He was referring to how he will probably always be thought of in terms of the iconic role he played, Mr. Darcy, in BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice.” It haunted him in his earlier career.
It got me thinking that, even if we’re not aware of it, even if we never utter the words, we all have a brand of one sort of another.
So, what’s all this talk about personal brand? Brand shmand. It’s definitely a big buzz word out there in the ether, and arguably an overused one. But, since you already have one, you might as well know what it means and how to control yours, right?
Think of your brand as the stamp you put on everything. Your brand is your reputation, your follow through, conversations, written correspondence, online presence, physical presentation, what people say about you, even why you do what you do; they are all part of the brand that you are already putting out to the world.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already been branded. Unless you’re aware of it and on top of it, your brand is how everyone else brands you. It’s likely you may not have thought of yourself in those terms, as a brand, because mostly we just live our lives and do our work. We go along the way life takes us. And, chances are if there’s a lack in one of those areas we don’t even know it. Because we live our lives and do our work.
How do people brand you? I believe it’s based on three very basic keys: relationship, action and consistency. They are also the keys to taking control of your own brand!
1. Relationship - how you build, nurture and maintain relationships truly determines the heart and longevity of your brand. More than ever, relationships are key. People will gravitate toward their relationships before anything else. It truly is the tie that binds. And, integrating relationship with action is a great way to start to take control of your own brand.
2. Action - by action, I mean your "proactions", actions, reactions and non-actions.
- Proactions – take time to set authentic goals; be proactive and plan ahead; set the stage for action; be the first one in on something, or the first one to provide a solution.
- Actions – be cognizant of literally all of your actions in the present moment that affect others. Your actions speak loudly; mark them with excellence and authenticity.
- Reactions – follow through, follow through, follow through. Also, how you react to people and situations speaks volumns about you and can enhance or hinder your brand stamp.
- Non-actions – Be aware and take charge of your non-actions. Not doing any or all of the above results in negative non-action, which reflects poorly on your brand. A positive non-action is when you make the choice not to do something because it doesn’t ring true to either your relationship integrity or your intrinsic values. This type of non-action reflects positively on your transparent reputation and brand.
3. Consistency - we are all multi-dimensional; it’s a blessing of being human. When taking control of your own brand, inconsistency becomes the curse. In fact, inconsistency makes your brand appear confused. It’s important to remain true, persistent and consistent to build and maintain a powerful personal brand.
Colin Firth? He took control by embracing the typecast which only added to the cache of his brand. By getting into the driver’s seat of his career and brand has led him to opportunities that may not have presented themselves otherwise. And, now he's nominated for an Oscar for a role that is so NOT Mr. Darcy.