When we think about our personal brand, we tend to focus on our actions. Our brand is shaped by the opportunities we pursue and the risks we take. Integrity and high moral standards are key in effective branding. This is why PR teams jump at the opportunity of media coverage when negative news about the organization they represent becomes public. Without a solution or proper apology the negativity will permeate the public mind. Consider how today, many people still do not fully trust banks after the financial crisis. Distrust can cause sales to drop, stocks to plummet and a once admired reputation to be tarnished.
We often forget our brand is also shaped by the things we DON’T do. When you don’t show up or don’t deliver, the credibility of your brand is affected. When you’re on your journey through entrepreneurship and working to make a name for yourself, credibility is essential during your climb. You must do what you say you’re going to do. You have to fulfill your promises and maintain your commitments. It takes years to build a solid reputation and only seconds to destroy it.
As you’re looking to carve a niche for yourself whether in your career or building your business, here are few tips on establishing a brand with integrity.
- Always arrive on time – When I was a student at Hampton, my professors would always say “to be on time is to be early.” Being on time demonstrates discipline and preparation. Leverage apps such as Google Maps to plan your routes accordingly so that you arrive to meetings and appointments at least 10 minutes early.
- Give credit where credit is due – If you are working with someone on a team, give them recognition for their contribution. Do not accept praise for work that isn’t yours, ever! The best leaders always praise their teams and understand that you are only as strong as those around you. Additionally, don’t be afraid to recognize someone you admire. If you’ve been inspired by the writing or actions of others, let them know! Not only will it make them feel good, but it shows that you are secure in yourself and are confident.
- Under promise & over deliver – Whether you are working on a project for your manager or you’re creating something for a client, always strive to do a little bit more than what’s asked. Not only does it demonstrate excellence but it gives your work a chance to speak for itself. I know we have this myth that people only share bad customer service experiences but I’ve found this to be false – especially in service based businesses. If you’re an entrepreneur who provides timely and quality services, clients will refer others to you and will be happy to provide you with a testimonial. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, your results and efficiency is what will get your name brought up at the table when its time to discuss promotions. Remember, just because someone doesn’t praise you outright, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.
Lastly, don’t over commit yourself. Get comfortable with saying the word “no”. Overextending yourself does more harm than good. Don’t tarnish your brand by taking too much on. Recognize when you have room and when you don’t. Your brand is defined by what you do and what you don’t do. Tell us in the comments, what actions have you taken to build credibility in your business or workplace?