Your brand is the culmination of everything about you and your business. It is how people come to know you. It is your business name, logo design or other symbol that identifies your goods and services. It's what makes you different from everyone else in business. What are some of the components that come to make up your brand?
1. Who I am. Your brand is a representation of who you are, including your talents, gifts, needs, values, and integrity. Your talents and gifts are what allow you to develop the products and services you offer. Needs are what you need fulfilled to be your very best. As a business owner you may have a need to accomplish. Values are behaviors or activities to which you are naturally drawn - perhaps creating or contributing to the welfare of others. Integrity is all about your thoughts and actions being highly aligned. What you think, what you speak, and what you do are consistent. Who are you? What are your most important values and needs? What talents are you sharing with others through your business?
2. How I act. How you act is also a fundamental component of your branding. It includes everything that the public experiences when they deal with you. Your personality, your strengths, and your weaknesses are all parts of how you show up, whether face-to-face, on the telephone, or even through email. How you act is one of the most fundamental and direct ways that others get a sense about what is behind your brand. What do your daily actions communicate to others?
3. What I do. The type of business in which you engage speaks volumes about your brand identity. Do you provide a product or a service? What industries do you serve? Do you serve people directly or do you serve other companies? How do you run your business? Are you a control freak, do you delegate or are you a solopreneur or an employer? How do you handle projects? Do you avoid them or do you readily engage them. Like your actions, all of these components provide others with a sense about who you are. What you do tells people what is important to you. What does your type of business say about you?
4. Who I know. Your network of business contacts, the types of customers (demographic/psychographic profile) and the business organizations and associations to which you belong give others a sense of your business “come from place”. Who you know immediately communicates to others who you enjoy being around and to whom you market and sell your goods and services. Who is important to you? Who do you spend time with and why? How is this influencing your company brand?
5. Where I am. Your physical environment also communicates a lot about your business to others. Do you work from a home office? Are you situated in a business park or an office building? What about the inside of your business? Is it neat and clean inside and out? What are your interior colors and furniture style? All of these things create an impression of your business, who you are, and your attitude. When folks hear your name, all of these things will come to mind. What does your environment communicate about you and your business?
6. Where I've been. To a certain extent you are a product of your environment. Where you have been is a reflection of who you are. Where have you traveled to? Where do you live? Your travels have exposed you to different thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and ideals. The things that resonate with you become a part of who you are and are expressed in everything you do. Where you have been tells much about where you are today and where you will go in the future. How is your past expressed in your business?
7. What I believe. Your religious or spiritual beliefs often form your operating framework. What you believe in and how you perceive your place in the world play a significant role in the type of business you select, how you show up in the world, how you treat yourself, and how you treat others. Your belief system will either be one that places the power of choice in your hands or it will be one in which you are a follower. In any case, what you believe will show through in everything that you do. What role do your beliefs play in your business?
8. What I learn. Where do you choose to put your life energies when it comes to your personal or professional development? What do you focus on to enrich your life? What do you enjoy learning? Are you concentrated on your hobbies, sports, reading, volunteer work, or other interests? We have a powerful choice to make every day as to what we will do with that day. What we choose to learn, where we place our attention is strongly expressed in who we are and becomes a part of our branding as well. How has what you learned influenced your business?
9. Where I'm going. Where you are going is just as important as where you have been. Where we are going is rooted in our hopes, dreams and plans for the future. It is the vision we have not only for our business, but for the person we hope to be. Everything we do today is a stepping-stone for where we want to be tomorrow. Inherent in your business and in your brand are the seeds of what you wish your future to be. How people think of you today is setting the stage as to how you want them to think of you in the years to come. What are your plans for the future and how are these expressed in your brand today?
10. What I think. What you think is the underlying core of all of the components that comprise your brand. Thinking is the point from which everything about you emanates. It influences who you are, what you do, your personal and professional network, your physical environment, what you believe, what you choose to learn, where you go and your hopes for the future. It is critically important to watch what you choose to allow in your mind as these things have an uncanny way of manifesting themselves. In a larger sense, what you think is who you are. And, who you are is your brand. What thoughts are you thinking and how are they influencing the perception of your brand?
© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith