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Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “brand” as:
- To make an indelible impression on the memory/senses.
- An association of positive qualities with a widely recognized name, as of a product line/celebrity.
Essentially, your brand is something that represents you and shares how you make an impression on the world. Your brand is what shows up before you get to the room, is with you in the room, and lingers there long after you leave. Your brand is what represents who you are, what you do, and why you are the one to do it, and it must be protected at all costs.
Believe it or not, you are your brand. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a certain unnamed celebrity; said celebrity successfully played a beloved father figure for several years on television, and America became accustomed to seeing this person as a father figure, which developed his ‘father figure’ brand. Years later, long after the show went into syndication, this father figure was allegedly accused of indiscretions with several women. How could a father, especially this father, be accused of such things? America was shocked beyond belief, because his ‘father figure’ brand was so deeply implanted into our psyches. So remember, as you go to school, get your first job, get married, raise your children, serve in your church, open your business, you are your brand.
Your brand is made up of more than who you are; it is also what you do. You know that one person who shows up late to every function, even though they are told to be there 30 minutes earlier than everyone else? Their brand is ‘late.’ How about that individual, who, no matter what, stops what they are doing to give a homeless person a pair of socks or pauses what they are doing to give candy to a child? Their brand is ‘giver.’ What you do and how you show up in a space with others is how your brand is perceived by others. Your actions speak loudly to your brand, and its effect on others extends your brand beyond that singular point in time.
Your brand is who you are and what you are, but it is also why you are. Your brand is an extension of what makes you tick. Things that make us tick are those that impact us, beginning at a very early age. Your parents, siblings, and extended family are a part of developing your brand. Your time in college, first job, and first failure are all a part of developing your brand. All of the people you’ve come in contact with and all of the experiences you’ve encountered help develop you into the person you are.
Your personal brand is made up of who, what, and why you are. As you embark on starting and growing a business, your brand transcends your business, because it not only represents you, but the business you are building. Take heed of the things that affect your brand, because those things will eventually impact your bottom line.
Dawn Jordan Jones is CEO of 29Eleven Media, L.L.C., a marketing company assisting mom-and-pop to Fortune 100 companies, to establish, enhance, and elevate their brand in the marketplace. To connect on Twitter: @29ElevenMedia. Also, get more information via Jones’ website here.