How are you signaling your personal brand?

26Jun09

We constantly send out signals about how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us.  About our personal brand.  These signals are intentional.  Some of the obvious, intentional signals we use are how we dress; our hairstyle or our un-hairstyle (i.e., the shaved head); the organizations we belong to; the products we buy, including the car we drive.  

We send out unintentional signals as well.  An example is when we make a remark that reveals values or prejudices that we do not wish to reveal.   Another example of an unintentional signal is tone of voice or facial expression.  We have all experienced the insincere compliment, given away by a tone or look.   Unintentional signals, by definition, are mostly out of our control because they are out of our awareness.  But unintentional signals are not always negative.   An authentic blush at the appropriate time can be a positive revelation about a person.

You cannot become someone you are not by mimicking the signals of someone you wish to be.  Eventually, your unintentional signals will give you up.  On the other hand, managing the intentional signals that help the rest of us “get” the real you is not only fair game, it is essential.  

I once had a “white-table cloth” restaurant client. The silver was real.  But their servers poured water from brown plastic pitchers.   The service was all over the place, depending on the server you got.  It was a genuinely high end restaurant in terms of the cuisine, the wine list, the location.  Unfortunately, they were sending out mixed signals that diminshed their brand and the customers’ experience.   As personal brands, we often do the same thing.

In your organization, if you want to be taken seriously for who you are, be serious about the signals you are sending.

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