What is in a Name?
What is in a Name?
Isn’t it interesting how certain colleagues always seem to get the great contracts, work on the high profile projects and are sought out for their advice? What are they doing that makes it seem so easy for them?
When you hear the names of successful, high profile people such as Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, what are the words you would chose to describe them? When your name is spoken what words would others use to describe you? Are these the words you want to hear?
Comparing yourself with individuals at the top of their game is a great way to research and discover what creates success. Be clear that each one of these celebrities, along with the individuals that are at the top in your industry, didn’t start there. With that in mind let’s look at the fundamental elements you may want to consider to elevate your own celebrity status and establish your expertise.
Each successful celebrity that has endeared is clear about who they are and what they are passionate about. They do not deviate from this. So it makes sense to really get to know yourself to provide the same certainty in the value you offer that ignites your desire for excellence.
Excellence draws attention and elevates your status. Excellence is doing your absolute best with what you have in the present moment. This starts with discovering who you are, living your values and playing to your strengths. This empowers you to take ownership of setting boundaries around what you are willing to do versus allowing others to dictate outcomes that don’t fit with what you want. This provides the foundation for a clear well defined message of a personal brand that reflects your truth.
You never see Tiger Woods sponsoring cookware or Oprah showing us how do ride a horse. You don’t watch Martha Stewart on TV giving basketball tips or Michael Jordan talking about decorating your holiday table. They each know who they are and what they are good at, period. They are exclusive to their market and recognize they are not for everyone. Their consistent approach clearly defines what their audience can expect.
For you it is important to, as each celebrity has done, invest the time and energy into being the best at what you do. This gives you the confidence to seek out the opportunities that are consistent with your values and support your strengths.
Play to Your Strengths
Notice how Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan make what they do look easy? Or ever envy Martha Stewart’s ease in decorating a table or making a beautiful floral arrangement. Imagine Martha as a golfer, Tiger as a basketball player and Michael doing flower arrangements. Okay in all fairness they may each be okay in these new roles though they would not be playing to their strengths or achieve the same level of excellence. Playing to your strengths brings energy to what you do and provides great satisfaction versus frustration or another item to be ticked off your list of things to do.
Think about what it is that you do that comes easily and gives you energy. What skills do you use in the moments of your work day when you feel totally in sync? Since a big percentage of your day is spent working it would feel wonderful to be in sync more often and experience greater satisfaction during your day. A good way to start this process is by tracking the pieces of your day when you feel engaged and energized. What skills are you applying in these moments? This is where you want to focus, establish your brand identity, build brand equity and demonstrate your expertise.
Your strengths are part of what you want to be known for. Makes sense than to be using these skills and discover more opportunities to use them. Word of caution; typically people take their strengths for granted and undervalue them. If you catch yourself saying “anybody can do that”, you need to stop yourself and embrace the value of your contribution.
Consistency is necessary to build trust, relationships and personal brand equity. Building your brand equity is similar to making deposits into your bank account and watching your money grow. Only with your personal brand you are depositing positive consistent behaviour, acts of consideration, timely follow up, polished professional image, meeting deadlines, high energy, positive attitude…….EVERYTIME! Consistency allows your target audience to know what they get when they get you.
When you dilute your message or demonstrate inconsistencies people will no longer be sold on who you are. Martha Stewart, like so many celebrities, tested her brand equity with her stock scandal. This behaviour was inconsistent with her ‘homemaker’ brand. Though she accumulated enough brand equity and handled herself with dignity that she minimally felt the effects with her target market. She made a mistake and handled it by taking responsibility. This was a case of it is not what happens to you that matters but how you handle what happens to you that tells others about who you really are and what your name stands for. Her target market sympathized with her and she was forgiven.
For you it could look like not returning a phone call, being late with a report or arriving late to a meeting. If it happens once it gets overlooked though if you are inconsistent in what you show others you will end up with your brand equity account being in the red. This puts doubt in the minds of your target market. Go back to the words you want others to use to describe you. Align everything you do, your actions and your verbal promise to build trust.
Evolve and Be Relevant
Having defined a strong personal brand provides clarity, heightened awareness and focus. People hear your name and they immediately know what you stand for, the value you bring to the table and that you deliver results.
The colleagues mentioned at the beginning who always seem to get the great contracts, work on the high profile projects and are sought out for their advice have understood the key to knowing themselves and marketing their brand expertise similar to the successful celebrities. They have a clear message about who they are, what they are good at and they stick to it! They also educate themselves on who their audience is and deliver with the intention of proving more than what is expected.
As the world constantly changes evolution is not an option. The evolution of your life and your career makes it necessary to perform occasional audits to ensure your brand stays relevant and marketable.
Determine the words you want to own in the minds of your audience and know what that looks like. Represent yourself in a style that is appropriate for you and aligns with your brand. Develop strategies that you can implement to gain recognition and create memorable moments in the minds of others. Consistency and clarity of your message is critical, inside and out. Send the same message about your personal brand in all that you do to be remembered for what you intend when they speak your name.
By Dorothy Lazovik