In marketing, brand image is the impression of a product held by current or perspective customers. It is the picture created in the consumer’s mind whether real or imaginary of qualities and shortcomings. It is formed over time and is authenticated through the consumer’s direct experience. Similarly, your personal brand image will be the impression you give through your interpersonal relationships.
Think about what are you communicating. Be intentional with your actions and words. I’m not talking manipulation, flattery or insincerity. Greed says, what’s in it for me. I’m talking about being the kind of person who thinks of others and is authentic—the same on the outside as the inside. Think about your brand image. Do others benefit from the experience of interacting with you? If so, they’ll probably be a little more willing to overlook your shortcomings. People often form an impression based on how an interaction makes them feel more than how a person presents. Relax. You don’t have to be perfect to have a strong brand image.
So with this idea that a person is like a product, as a “brand,” I can influence others. Unfortunately, I have no real control over what image others form. However, I do have control over me. Here in lies the secret of building a strong brand. Repeat after me. “It’s not about me.”
When building your personal brand. Encourage. Give credit where credit is due. Appreciate others and tell them. Acknowledge their talents. Hear their concerns. Listen more than you talk. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there is something good in everyone. Even the most ornery coworker has a redeeming quality. Find it and encourage them in their strength. Don’t defend—listen. Be authentic. Keep it real.Keep in mind how your “product” can benefit your “customer.” It’s not always easy, but when you are successful your personal brand will be remembered long after your LinkedIn profile has left this earth. This is authentic personal branding.