Ol’ Reliable

28May09

SIXTH IN A SIX PART SERIES

This is the final post in the Personal Brand Strategy series. It’s about “Deliver”.  Our model for the series:

  1. Define
  2. Distinguish
  3. Declare
  4. Deliver

 “Deliver” simply means providing the experience you promised in steps 1 &2, and promoted in step 3.

Martha Stewart, domestic diva and former inmate, has been our personal brand model in other posts.  No reason to abandon her now.   Martha is about the “art of everyday living”  which implies a promise to elevate everyday domestic tasks to a level well beyond the everyday. 

Martha delivers when the cupcakes she shows her audience how to bake are distinctive in taste and style beyond any old everyday cupcake; when her flower arrangement takes flower arranging beyond what her audience could have imagined doing themselves; or when she shows them how to have a distinctive dinner party.

Martha could fail to deliver in a number of ways.  For example, she could start devoting a portion of her television show or website to giving financial advice   – clearly out of brand bounds for her.  Or she might remain within her brand boundaries but produce rather ordinary, run of the mill cupcakes.  Not Martha –  she is on brand all the time.

By delivering what they promise, powerful brands create loyal followers who then become advocates, who then create more followers.  Great brands can certainly evolve – it’s just that they do so from a position of the trust they have built by consistently delivering on their promise.   And, as we noted before, some personal brands, like Madonna, promise constant evolution.  Not a problem, as long as she delivers it.

As a personal brand in the workplace, you must deliver on your explicit and implied promises.  For example, if you are the HR Director Compensation and you have promised to provide leading edge compensation practices, you must deliver leading edge compensation practices.  If there is an innovative type of compensation that your audience becomes aware of and that you are not delivering, you still must be knowledgeable about it, be able to speak about it comprehensively, and be able to explain why it is not right for your company. 

If you are a sales person who has promised your customers that you are distinctive because you understand their business, you need to not only demonstrate that understanding regularly – you need to prove to them how that understanding translates into value for them.

A few years ago the U.S. Army changed their slogan from “Be all you can be” to “Army of one”.   The implied promise was an Army focused on the individual.  To deliver, the Army also needed to provide an individualized experience. 

Put another way:  Delivered must always equal Declared.

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