Whether you like it or not, you have a brand already. It’s probably not displayed in some nifty logo or clever tagline. But it’s there. It’s been decided for you, and it can be found in the opinions of others.
Other people have a picture of you. It may not be the real you, but it’s their impression/opinion—maybe your reputation would be a better way of putting it rather than brand.
I struggled with this as I thought through my brand.
People know me for being quiet, lacking confidence, and shying away from the limelight. I don’t command a room when I walk into it, and I don’t really think anyone has ever thought of me as much of an expert on anything.
And knowing others have these opinions of me has slowed me down.
I mean, how can I ever do an interview or feel comfortable in front of a room of people, if everyone thinks I’m too scared to talk?
Now, you may be expecting me to tell you to throw those opinions to the wind and live your dream. Who cares what they say! And I just about did that. Other people don’t get to define me, right? But then something just didn’t feel right about ignoring the mirror being held up. Their opinions do matter. If I’ve developed a reputation for being late or difficult or quiet, then I need to know that– not ignore it or downplay it.
I need to address it.
Your brand is your promise to others. And that promise will be evident not just in your cool logo or what you say, but it will flow from who you are. This promise should never be dependent on whether or not they believe you. But if they don’t believe you, then you need to figure out why and address it.
If they don’t know who you really are or what your message is, then it’s your job to find out where the disconnect is and fix it if you can.
Are you being honest?
Are you doing what you said you would do?
Are you walking the walk?
It’s the beauty of the relationship between us and others.
We’re all making promises of some sort. Even doing nothing sends a message. It’s your responsibility to make sure people have the correct picture of you. They don’t have to like you, but they do need to know the real you. And when they know the real you, your brand and their opinions will do this wonderful dance called friendship.
Perhaps the real key to the branding mystery is being intentional (that was last week’s blog) and being yourself. I don’t mean your messed up and broken self. I mean your loved and forgiven one—the one that dreams big, believes, and tries. Other people need to see that. We all need to see it from one another.
The truth is God has given you a story that’s unique. A story that has developed through failures and victories. A story that only you can tell.
Will you tell it?
Will you do the work to figure it out? Will you keep trying when others say you can’t? Will you? I hope so.