What is your Personal Brand?
My posts are usually directed exclusively to business owners and managers who are looking for easy to understand and affordable ways to market their business, their website and their online presence. But this week, after a series of unfortunate events, I feel the need to stress to women, whether business owners, professionals and even housewives, that each of us have a brand. Call it a reputation, a persona or your character, but a brand is how others feel when they hear your name (personal name or business name).
“Put simply, your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.” – Forbes.com
So the question is, What do you want others to feel when they hear your name? I’m sure your answer is a series of positive emotions. Only you can control that response, it’s not hard, your speech, your actions and your response to others is all part of building that brand.
Start with being kind, loyal and open-minded to others’ differences. Don’t judge others for the way they look, dress, or the choices they make, and of course, not their race, culture, gender or socioeconomic position. Let kindness be your brand. And for women, I stress that we need to support other women.
Women Supporting Other Women
A large percentage of our society still put more stock in a man’s voice or position over a woman’s, and women often feel ignored, under-appreciated and underpaid amidst their male counterparts. Yet, instead of supporting each other, ironically too many times I see woman degrading and humiliating other women. Women are often judged or criticized by the way they look, dress, weigh or wear their hair, where most men do not have to concern themselves with these issues but can focus on more essential qualities. When women attack other women, they are contributing to inhibiting women’s progressive journey forward in our society, including their own. This is unfathomable.
Fellow women have been my biggest source of inspiration, support and encouragement in my personal and professional journey, starting with my mother and the women in my family, friends, colleagues, and even former female managers. Although their definition of success and their journey of womanhood have been vastly different, the women I look up to are hard workers, incredibly loyal, positive thinkers, supportive and a true friend when you stumble and fall. They laugh instead of complaining, they vent privately and get over it, they find their strength after the tears, and they do not degrade others when their own flaws overwhelm them.
We all have body issues, we all have flaws and we all live in glass houses. Instead of throwing stones, let’s shine the light on each other’s strengths. Instead of being envious of their beauty (inner or outer), admire and complement them for those strengths, and I bet you will make their day. So many of us, even the prettiest of women, struggle with their own inner battles of self-worth versus self-degradation. More importantly, compliment women also for their minds, their professional successes, their boldness in a man’s world, their kindness, their support of others, their charitable efforts, their courage in the face of obstacles, and their endurance to keep putting one foot in front of the other, which sometimes is all you can do. “Just keep swimming,” as Dory says.
If your brand has suffered because of your negative speech, judgmental opinions, or outright offensive comments (whether in person or on social media), its not too late to make a new start and begin a brand makeover. It will take time, but people will begin to see the change and you will begin to attract attention from people who will encourage you in your rebranding journey.
We’ve all made mistakes, had a bad day and uttered hurtful words, but learn from those mistakes and be determined not to use our words to stab at others’ weaknesses. Although women have the reputation of being catty, I have seen just as many men say offensive things about women’s appearance. Hence, all the more reason, women need to stand together and not allow physical flaws come into play when calculating a woman’s self-worth.
When you’re tempted to laugh or humiliate someone else, instead laugh at yourself. You’ll be happier if you do.
“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Know when to laugh at yourself, and find a way to laugh at obstacles that inevitably present themselves.” – Halle Berry