Sunday, April 27, 2008

What is our brand - Azara Feroz Sayed

One more post on perception! Perception others have about us - our brand!

As we discussed earlier in the post "Parent V/s Child", Seeing ourself from the eyes of a loved one, co-worker, employers helps to gain perspective of the relationship. As we view ourself through other's eyes, we begin to learn how to escape the labels that others have pinned on us, and more importantly, labels that we have unconciously pinned on ourself by snippets of personal behavior that are out of place. Example wearing a ribbon bow is associated with being a little girl and not a mature responsible woman. Unconciously, others will label such a person as lighweight! If your work environment (desk with silly stuff) indicates you don't take yourself seriously nobody else will.

The article below talks about importance of our personal branding.

Feroz stresses on the importance of personal branding often with me as discussed in the below article. When these ideas are presented in an article the importance of those dawn on me. Apart from chitchating for long at work or using office time for personal work, that I talked about in the earlier post, presentation was important too for Feroz. I can't forget how he was upset about me carrying a cheap lunch bag to work and would never let go an oppurtunity to talk about it (he wouldn't touch it too) till I got a decent one.

Their is one more aspect about personal branding that would need a separate post in itself and it is about team relationships. All the training programs that we attend talk about having fun with the team, being one with them and having no barriers with team members. Feroz would talk to me against it. He believed it was important to ensure the manager relationship doesn't deteriotes. I would argue with Feroz on this till I read article by Marc Crammer (Wharton Professor) who writes weekly in Bulletin (philadelphia newspaper). Does familiarity with Feroz (refer once again the parent v/s child post) gets in the way of me accepting Feroz's ideas without arguing while readily accepting the ones posted on the net!!
I recently spoke at a conference with a guy who (I was informed) gets paid over $15,000 for his forty five minute presentation. Was he good? Yep. Was he mind-blowingly incredible? Nope. Was he fifteen times better than the $1,000 speaker? Nope. Then why did that company pay so much for his services? Because they were buying a brand that's why. A name. A reputation.

What do you think would have happened if I had told the conference organiser that I could have provided a $1,000 speaker (unknown brand) to deliver the exact same message (same info, same style, same passion, same quality) for one fifteenth of the cost? More than likely he or she would have said "thanks, but no thanks." Because:
1. They want the brand.
2. On some level they don't really believe that the $1,000 speaker could deliver like the $15,000 guy and
3. Even when it comes to corporate speakers, we're label shoppers!

That's the genius of great branding! it often has nothing to do with reality (what you're actually buying) and everything to do with perception (what you believe you're buying). It's about making people feel and think a certain way about something (a product, person, program, company, system).

What is your brand right now? Whether or not you know it, want it or like it, you have your own brand already!

How other people perceive us. Now, of course we don't want to be obsessed with, or insecure about what people think of us but at the same time, it is important that we all realise that our personal brand (how we are perceived) will have a great impact on virtually every area of our life.

If people perceive us as untrustworthy and unprofessional individual, then they won't want to do business with us or have us on their team. If your brand reeks of arrogance and ego they won't respect us or want to listen to us. If we are wearing the needy, insecure and high-maintenance labels then they'll avoid us like the plague.

However, if our brand is synonymous with quality, integrity, reliability, honesty, generosity and thoughtfulness then we (and our skills, products, services) will be in demand.

Everything we do (and don't do) says something about our brand - who we are!
Our communication style, our habits (chitchating for long), our values, how we present ourself (r, what shape we are in physically, how we deal with different situations and challenges, how we manage relationships, how we resolve conflict, how we interact with our staff / work colleagues, our ability to get stuff done and the results we do and don't produce.

The questions we might want to ask yourself moving forward are:
1. What kind of branding do I have right now and
2. How can I improve the value of my brand?


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