Nowadays, it seems that most everyone is about building their brand or showing you steps on how to build yours. I don’t doubt that these strategies are useful, but I think we must be careful to first build our character because your character IS your brand. See, talent and gifts will certainly make room for you. This means it will open doors for you, but what happens once you cross the threshold? Your character is what will keep you there.
Think about it - there are tons of every type of business you can name. What sets apart each company is not only the service or product, but the manner in which they are delivered. You might be thinking, “Everyone already knows good customer service is key.” True, but what I’m referring to are those integral qualities that make up the foundation of your brand such as honesty, integrity, discipline, dedication, accountability, respect, etc. What good would it do to market and promote your brand when your character, attitude, and personal life are in opposition to your company’s vision or mission statement? Let your brand be an outpour of or reflection of your true character, not a fake, filtered image for the public and press.
Because YOU are your brand, consider the following tips to develop your business:
1. Examine life experiences that have helped you develop character. What lessons have you learned? Bring these experiences forward and apply them to your professional ethics.
2. Identify your life values and personal mission. For example, if my personal mission is to “get money at all costs” (aka greed), then that will show up in my business ethics. If I have a tendency to disregard the needs of others, how could I promote a brand that my employees and clients could support? Your core life values should be consistent with your company ethics. Remember, you are not building a brand; you ARE the brand!
3. Take a personal inventory to discover your areas of strength and growth edges. Nurture your strengths and develop your growth edges by adopting a mindset of continued personal education and progress. You can work towards this goal by activities such as studying self-help books, attending personal growth seminars, subscribing to positive blogs (like this one), seeking help from a therapist, getting a mentor or studying a person’s life (dead or live) whom you admire.
4. Stay open to feedback from reliable sources. How do you respond or react to feedback? Are you defensive? Is your personal identity secure enough to humbly tolerate suggestions, compliments and complaints? Having genuine people in your corner to both cheerlead and challenge you are paramount because it gives you practice in responding to comments you may not agree with or want to hear.
5. Genuinely support other people in their endeavors to excel. Admittedly, this can be hard, especially if you worry that someone’s business may be getting more attention and success than yours. However, it becomes easier when you acknowledge and deal with negative thoughts and vulnerable emotions (Yes, they are normal.). Once you are secure in your own path of life, you can authentically celebrate the success of others around you because you know you are putting in the ground work to make your brand phenomenal too.
If you read these tips and determine that you have a lot of improvements to make, that’s okay! ALL of us have work to do. A wise woman once told me, “It’s better to get it right, than to get it fast.” Now I encourage you to take the time you need to build your character. Couple your character with your creativity to build a dynamic brand!
I know you can do it!
~Dr. Q. Perry