As appeared on LinkedIn on March 15, 2023. The author Seth Godin said, “Every interaction, in any form, is branding.” I agree.
What is a personal brand, and what is a corporate brand?
Brand lies somewhere in the asphalt intersection of those messages we disseminate to the world, what we want our customers, clients and friends to believe, and, based on their various interactions with us, what they actually do believe.
It’s those small interactions, those interviews with candidates that are mishandled, or the receptionist having a lousy day when greeting a client, that can erode a brand.
As corporate leaders and individuals, much about brand is out of your control.
Former employees may use social media to negate the goodwill you have accrued in the marketplace. A client may be upset with the outcome of an assignment. In product marketing, we used to call this the “glass in the baby bottle” syndrome. You can do everything in your power to ensure nothing goes wrong, but sometimes bad or even horrific things happen.
So what can you do to project and protect your brand?
1. Be clear about what you stand for, your mission as an organization, and your mission as a professional.
Have clarity about how you want to be known. You can differentiate yourself from the pack by working to achieve this clarity. With clients, the process often begins by addressing the problems and surveying an organization’s various constituents, internally and externally. For an individual practitioner, often, this work is similar.
2. Communicate your brand to those who work for you, those with whom you work on the outside and all of your constituents.
Be able to articulate what you stand for and make sure that you communicate it over and over again. For example, one law firm leader with whom I work ensures that every time he leads a partner meeting or talks to a group of associates, he makes sure to repeat the firm’s core mission. While he admits it may seem tiresome, he knows it is impactful.
3. Don’t permit behavior that goes against the brand.
In a law firm, your morale and the strength of your brand is only as good as your worst-behaving partner.
4. Reward those who exemplify on-brand behavior.
Make sure that those wins, no matter how small, are celebrated and shared throughout your organization.
This is a topic I love to discuss with people, and I have conducted numerous branding and rebranding projects. Reach out if you want to brainstorm how I might be able to help you achieve your branding goals.