YOUR BRAND - and what does it say about you?
The way you come across to other people is your “Personal Brand”. Once, the term “brand” meant only products or companies.
These days it extends to individuals and now matters greatly by affecting your chances of success at work.
To confirm its importance, check out the torrents of helpful and even more unhelpful advice washing around the internet on how to create or strengthen your brand. There are valuable lessons from treating yourself as the equivalent of ME Plc. Let’s start with the most fundamental aspect of branding, your name.
The well-known courier service Hermes recently announced that it was dropping its entirely appropriate name of Hermes--the winged messenger of Greek myths - in favour of the less evocative name Evri. Evri was originally named after a deity in the Ancient Greek Region. Evri is a phonetic way of saying Every, which stands for: “every parcel, every person, every place, every delivery made for you”. You knew that, didn’t you?
The company has been through a complete makeover at the hands of a design studio. It won a pitch to transform the courier so its brand could focus on customer service to reflect its role in the community. For some customers, the courier’s arrival is the only time they see another person during the day. So, goodbye to Hermes, in which the company had invested much PR capital, in favour of the less characterful Evri.
But such a fundamental change does highlight an important issue. Could your branding - how you come across at work, for instance - also be susceptible to a complete name change, and why might it be worth doing?
This issue is not quite as silly as it may seem. For example, suppose your first name is Thomas, Andrew, Theodore, or Anthony. At your workplace, these formal constructs could make you seem distant or unapproachable. Changing your name to Tom, Andy, Theo, or Tony could re-position you as more accessible, less stuffy, and easier to get on with at work.
Personal rebranding may also help to emphasise different aspects of your skillset, personality, or experience. Emulating Hermes, for example, reshaping your brand might help you take a new approach and appeal to a different category of potential employers or bosses, further up an organisational hierarchy.
Unlike a physical product or company, you cannot readily wave a design wand to recraft your image. Such as creating and maintaining a particular reputation in the field. Or re-design how you affect colleagues and clients to have a specific opinion of you and the work you can do.
To alter your brand, you must showcase distinct qualities that differentiate you from similarly skilled professionals. It would be best if you did this for definite reasons, such as you are now ready for a more prominent role in your organisation and re-branding yourself helps to do that.
Or you might realise that your image of how you come across in your current or desired role limits you from generating more business. You could expose yourself to new categories of potential clients by improving your brand.
For example, David M, a consultant hustling for new business, regularly mixed with high-powered chief executives. Those he dealt with wore world-class tailored suits. His were off-the-shelf from M&S. The sartorial differences conveyed a silent message about him and his brand. After expensively upgrading his attire, David became comfortable and, therefore, more confident in the presence of high-level executives. Previously out-of-reach projects now landed in his lap.
Another reason to re-brand yourself is to distinguish yourself from your peers or work colleagues. For example, Jane Fraser, the giant Citigroup’s CEO, crashed through Wall Street’s ever-present glass ceiling in a blast of colours. She continued wearing her trademark pink suits and floral dresses.
Similarly, a company consultant quickly became known for his stylish wear by wearing dramatic yet tasteful jackets. So much so that on meeting him for the first time, one potential client expressed disappointment that “You’re not wearing one of those famous jackets I’ve been hearing about.”
If you decide you deserve some rebranding? Watch out for Part 2 shortly on some of the essential steps you can take.