What’s in a name? A lot.
“Perhaps more than in any other time in history, in 2016, your name is your brand,” says Pamela J. Green, a business and branding expert.
“I think most of us get this concept. We live in a celebrity-obsessed society, so we understand how a person’s name can also be their brand,” she says. “Social media also reinforces this idea. Our names are usually one of an infinite chorus of brands. People can see who liked a New York Times article, who criticized a political position, and who recently became engaged to whom. Most people today meet our name/brand before actually – or ever – meeting us in person.”
While many may see this as cold and impersonal, Green says this could be an opportunity to more objectively improve who we are – on both a personal and business basis.
Green, author of Think Like a Brand, offers seven steps to help improve your brand.
Write your mission. What drives you? Knowing this will help you determine what success means in your life. Regardless of what it is, Green says, outlining a clear mission to achieve your success will act as a discernible path.
ID your organization’s brand, needs, and priorities. This is for those who want to better bond their own name/brand to another organization. What’s the connection? If your company’s brand is about making healthy treats — and you’re developing a personal brand centered on music and art therapy — there could be a mission disconnect.
Conduct brand research. Determine the future skills needed for what you want to do, and research businesses in the industry you want to enter that have found success. For the more personal branding perspective, ask, “What are the long-term habits I need to adopt to be the person I want to be five years from now?”
Create your brand template. If your brand was a can on a shelf, would it be dented and disheveled? Would the label be torn? If you ignore, reject, or skip this step, Green says, then you’ve volunteered to live the life you have instead of the life you want.
Grow strategic visibility. In a room or a business meeting, are you a church mouse or a brave eagle? Even if your brand emphasizes a sort of low-key class and already features an enviable client “who’s who” list, you don’t want your image to be diminished.
ID your brand adjacencies. While building your brand today, don’t dismiss what it could be a decade down the line. You might have unidentified talents, or perhaps your brand/business could be utilized in a way you haven’t yet considered.
• Scale your brand. Every brand needs to stay relevant to remain sustainable. To be sustainable, your brand needs to be scalable. Your ability to deliver consistent performance at a high level is what leads to brand sustainability. Assess who will help you be accountable for the achievement of your goals and the continued sustainability of your brand. That person may be a personal trainer; for a business, it could be a promising employee.