It’s easier to remember your brand character and image when the lights, camera and microphone are turned on. We watch how we act, stay on message and look our Sunday best. But what about when we think no one is watching?
As you build your personal and professional brand, consider this: The microphone is always on. Whether you are unprepared for a meeting, frustrated in traffic, dealing with an irate client, or standing on stage in front of shareholders, you’re “on.” Your audiences (customers, consumers, staff, colleagues, partners, etc.) are watching how you handle yourself, conduct business, and maintain consistency across your life.
This sounds like a lot of pressure. And it is.
Some questions to ask yourself:
– When I network, do I engage with others or am I selling?
– Am I the same person online as I am in person?
– Do I treat my staff the way I profess to?
– Am I aware of how others perceive me?
– Do I bring my best self to every encounter?
In branding, especially personal branding, we seek to affect the audience’s perception of “normal.” Normal is what I experience consistently from an individual or company. If I typically experience wonderful customer service from Nordstrom, or if I believe that Mike is normally friendly, then the one time I get a grouchy sales person at Nordstrom or Mike is in a bad mood and brushes past me in the hallway without saying “hi”, I write those experiences off as the exception, not the norm.
Perception of normal gives us permission to be real, to be human. We will all have bad days; we will accidentally put on one black sock and one navy; we will miss the opportunity to be inclusive, collaborative and approachable and reinforce our values. Our target audiences typically excuse those one-off experiences, providing we have enough consistency to the contrary in place. It is only when those negative experiences become the “new normal” that our brand is in trouble.
Strive for Consistency
As a professional speaker and trainer, I have learned the value of being consistent and “on” at every experience with my audience. Whether I am on stage, in the reception hall or emailing with my clients, I reinforce my personal brand, values and value proposition. Being consistent, authentic and intentional gives me the best opportunity to create an expectation of the experience of working with me in the mind of my target audience. This is the goal.