Really? That’s What They Think of Me? by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Brands used to be only for businesses; but no more. Each of us has our own personal brand, whether we like it or not. Paying attention to your brand and your reputation is critical to ensuring you gain and maintain customers, and that you hold the place you desire in your community.

Your brand is really the business extension of your personal reputation. If you are known for being late, for example, in your personal life, that becomes part of your personal brand. If you have a flair for fashion, people remember that about you.

Your brand as a business person is critical to success. Determine what you want people to think about when they think about your business, and use this to build your brand. If you want to be known as the “hometown realtor”, you will market much differently than if you want to be known as the “realtor who knows the whole metro”.

Making the decision about what you want your brand to look like sooner rather than later will help you to see success much more quickly. People want to do business with people who are consistent, or, true to their brand. If you fail to establish some characteristics that people can consistently associate with your business, you will have a bit of a “business identity crisis.”

To help establish your brand, think about some things you want to be known for. Some examples include great value, low prices, friendly atmosphere, or quick turnaround. Consider the three or four attributes that are most critical for your industry and focus on making those characteristics the foundation of your company. Ensure that every business decision you make is done so being mindful of how it affects your brand and how you want the community to view your business.

Once you get started, you’ll find that it becomes easier to build your brand, and easier to make decisions, too. If every decision is predicated on whether or not it is consistent with your brand, you will know very quickly what will and won’t work for your organization.

Paying close attention to building and maintaining your brand will make it much easier to draw in customers and to keep them happy. A little time spent in the beginning thinking about how your business should be perceived will make it much easier to build the business you’ve dreamed of.