23 Jun Your Name Is Your Brand, Take Care of It
Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latin America) on June 23, 2014
A good reputation is always earned, accepts no shortcuts, and demands honest effort and even sacrifice. A good name is maintained over time based on integrity, ethics, and values (which are always vital in all aspects of life). And our name is our best personal brand, representing us in all aspects of our lives and through all the roles we play. It’s what maintains our prestige, image, and reputation in the minds of the people who know us or think they know us or know about us..
It is therefore obvious that we need to take care of our name and our personal brand with great care and attention: the idea is to treat it as a prestigious, well-known and well-reputed brand that makes people think of us as a first-class person of high integrity who is dedicated, reliable, capable, and very professional. We want to have a well-respected and – why not? – admired name and brand.
We also know how much time and effort it takes to maintain a good reputation, the kind that opens doors and generates credibility and trust, that is the basis for employability, long-term and responsible business success, and personal relationships on all levels.
In order to have a good reputation, we don’t have to be infallible and we certainly don’t have to be holy or perfect beings. However, when we commit errors – or have done so in the past – it’s important to rectify and make amends for mistakes as soon as possible with sincerity, authenticity, and an open attitude toward learning from them. And to try to reestablish good relationships with everyone, or at least with as many people as possible in our professional and personal surroundings. The idea is to keep accumulating “fans” of our brand, not detractors, offended or annoyed people, or even enemies made by our past actions, comments, or attitudes. Poor references or bad comments about us made by such “enemies” affect the perceived value of our brand and our reputation in general. And that hurts us over time.
No one likes to learn that they don’t have a good reputation: it’s worth the trouble to take stock of it from time to time, and above all to be sure you deserve it! It’s always easier to think that others are jealous, egotistical, or envious. And many people do that before making the effort to “promote” their brand. Obviously, we can’t please everyone or expect everybody to appreciate us the way we feel they should, but the responsibility for a good reputation is ours and ours alone, with no excuses.
Are you thinking about how to “sell” your brand every day? You represent your brand and the person who sells your professional services, i.e., yourself. It is therefore extremely important to be sure that we act and live at all times with integrity and professionalism; that we take good care of the image others have of us. This is especially vital if we move in different environments. That’s why I like the metaphor in which at all times, with all the people we interact with – and in every interaction! – our brand is “on display.”
There are people who believe that good behavior can be reserved only for the professional world and that in their personal lives, for example, they can allow themselves the luxury of being incorrect, lacking in integrity, or even poorly educated. They forget that we are still one and the same person, regardless of the world we’re moving in or the role we’re playing.
For example, we were helping an executive to relocate, and he had already passed the preliminary tests with flying colors and moved on to the final stage of the interview process for a position he very much wanted. But, as happens in life, the president of the company that was going to hire him went to play tennis with a friend. At some point he mentioned the name of our candidate, and the friend said he knew him and had occasionally played tennis with him.
¨Don’t do it,” he said to the other. “He’s a maniac, I wouldn’t hire him for anything. He’s a bad loser who always insults his opponent, yells, loses his temper, throws his racket, even breaks it.” “How strange,” said the company president. “I know him in a coat and tie and he seems to be such a gentleman.” “Yes,” said the other, “but take a look at him with a racket in his hand.”
When our candidate for relocation learned why they didn’t choose him, he said, “But what does one thing have to do with the other?” It does because we are always the same person; regardless of whether we’re wearing a suit and dress shoes or shorts and sneakers, our brand and reputation accompany us. If you mistreat your personal brand, why wouldn’t you mistreat the company’s brand too?
When you’re truly committed to your brand, you’re aware that it accompanies you in all walks of life and that your responsibility to care for it never stops. Our name is a life-long brand, present in all environments we enter, and it is in our best interest to take care of it, as part of maintaining a good reputation that will help us to optimize our employability.