By completing Stages 1 & 2 of my personal branding process, you have a thorough understanding of your personal brand, an online and offline communications plan, and customized branded career marketing materials. Stage 3 is for those who desire total brand management to truly “Be” their brands.
Staying in the Zone
Elite cyclists talk a lot about being in the zone, that elusive place where mind and body work in perfect synch and everything flows without conscious effort. They also know that keeping their competitive edge is less about honing it to perfection at all times, but more about knowing that while they can lose that edge they can still get it back. Stage 3 is all about staying in the zone to be your brand. This includes managing your brand environment, and ‘living in the inquiry’ to know when you are off-brand so that you can get back on-brand.
Managing your Brand Environment
To be your brand it is essential to communicate a clear, consistent, and constant message in your appearance, physical surroundings, brand-identity system, and professional networks. Even if one of these 4 elements in your brand environment is off-brand, it will get noticed and can likely damage your brand credibility. For example, imagine if a world class professional cyclist, whose brand is defined by being a vegan, is seen eating a hamburger! Or, how about a specialist in technology who speaks about the importance of using up-to-date tools but carries around an outdated cell phone. In both cases you can see how not being your brand in everything you do can discredit you.
In Stage 3 we analyze your brand environment to make sure all 4 elements are tuned up and in working order. Does your clothing, body language, and style reflect your brand attributes? Is your office, desk, cell phone, and computer on-brand? Are the element of your brand-identity system – business card, logo, brand colors, tagline, headshot, video/images, stationary – consistently sending the same message? For example, if your brand attributes include passion, energy, and action are you using the right color to convey this? Finally, are you engaged in strong professional networks and are you giving back to these networks by sharing information, providing a free service, volunteering at events?
Having a written ‘brand-identity profile’ summarizing all the elements of your identity system is an excellent marketing tool and reminder to always stay in the zone to be your brand. (See example of my brand-identity profile)
Living in the Inquiry to Be Your Brand
Regular maintenance of a bicycle is needed to keep it functioning smoothly. Likewise, to truly be your brand you must maintain your brand. Live in the inquiry and always ask yourself if what you are doing is on-brand or off-brand. Is it contributing to your brand message or distracting from it? Google yourself regularly to see if there is anything off-brand. Ask for direct feedback from your brand community or do another 360Reach personal brand assessment to check if others see your band in the same way you have been presenting it.
Stages 1 & 2 have a finite end point, a “finish line” if you will. In Stage 1 you cross the finish line once you establish a firm belief in your brand. In Stage 2 shifting gears and completing each action item enables you to become your brand and finish the stage. Stage 3 is all about staying in the zone. There really is no finish line as you will always be your brand.
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