It’s interesting that as business professionals, we wouldn’t question the need for employers to develop a corporate identity and brand. Most of us recognise the importance of having a shop window and unless you work for a high street retailer that’s usually a website. As customers we want to browse and get a sense of a company’s identity – find something that we can relate to – before we choose to buy.
As business owners we may get as far as identifying the visible value in the business – function, features, packaging and price because without these we would have difficulty making a sale. Few however, take time to think about how the products and services being provided are different from the competition because they’re being offered by you.
I can see that this falls into the “too hard to wrap my head around” category for a lot of people. After all, we’re talking about ‘intangibles’ here: the perception the public have of you and your business and your reputation in the environment within which you operate. From a stakeholder’s viewpoint we are all selling intangibles because in reality we’re judged by how well we promote ourselves.
Whoever coined the phrase “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” probably wasn’t thinking about business growth or their career progression at the time. The reality is that your public reputation does matter and it is always better to know what people are saying about you. That way you can take it under advisement and consciously change any aspects you don’t like.
The alternative is to shut out any feedback and plough on your merry way, regardless. The risk you take, in doing that, is that someone else will wield the branding iron for you and give you a reputation with which you would not wish to be associated. I can remember developing a reputation for being a completer-finisher because my boss at Grant Thornton needed me to pay robust attention to detail – consistently. Whilst that’s an important skill in most jobs it wasn’t the first thing I wanted people to say about me when someone asked: so, tell me about Robyn.
Salaried or self-employed matters not a jot; you’re missing a trick if you don’t take your public reputation seriously. People buy from people they know, like and trust and unless you really don’t care what other people think about you, take the time to develop a strong Personal Brand. It can affect how much you get paid, whether you get that promotion you’ve been eyeing up and can determine how much job satisfaction you enjoy in your current position.