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Define Your Personal Brand

What do you want your customers to know you for?  If there were one word or short phrase you want them to know you for, what would it be? Do you want to be known for your customer service?  If you’re in the medical profession, you might want to be known for compassion.  One of my favorite stores, Ace Hardware, is known for being helpful. That word is your brand.  Over the years, I’ve heard many definitions of the word brand.  One of my favorites is a simple, one sentence definition: A brand is a promise delivered. Be it a personal brand or a corporate brand, this word or short phrase that describes you is how you want your customers to think of you. You want to be the “go-to” person or company for whatever you want your customers to know you for. Before going any further, you must keep in mind that you can’t really create your brand.  The customer, be it internal (someone you work with) or external (someone you do business with), determines what your brand is.  Their perception is their reality.

Owning Your Mile for Success

There is another business concept that ties into the brand known as “Owning Your Mile.”  The mile is a metaphor.  It’s not always a distance, although it can be.  A retail store may want to own the customers within a mile (or two or ten…) around their store.  Someone like me, a customer service expert, may want to own the topic.  Your company can be local or international.  What do you want people to know you for?  That is the “mile” that you want to own.  Why should people do business with you?  Can you come up with one word to describe it?  If someone says, “When you look up the word ____ (Fill in the blank.) in the dictionary, you see their picture next to the definition.  That “word” is your personal brand. Finally, there is one thing that most people don’t do in building their personal or corporate brand.  They don’t focus or may not be consistent.  Inconsistency destroys trust and credibility.  Your brand is what people know you for, so don’t change it up every six months or year.  Figure it out and then stay laser focused.  As for consistency, you just can’t announce it and hope people get it.  You have to remind people over and over.  My personal brand is amazing customer service.  I end almost every email with “Always Be Amazing,” and I write articles every week about creating amazing service.  Every day I Tweet on the same topic.  Focusing and consistency are key. I’ll close this short article on personal branding by saying, “Thanks for reading.  This is Shep Hyken reminding you to Always Be Amazing! Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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