Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Have you ever met someone who left an indelible impression on you such that long after you had left that person's company you kept having this feeling of having met someone truly special? As an image consultant who is in the business of helping individuals to project themselves at their personal or professional best; I often observe the unique traits of people that I come in contact with on a daily basis.
During the ThisDay Africa Fashion Week of many years ago, my Ghanaian college mate introduced me to a Nigerian designer who was based in Ghana and who was participating in the runway exhibitions. Her manner of speaking and interaction with every single person around her including myself was extremely courteous and refined. Her tone, gestures and diction was perfectly consistent with her person in every single interaction. During the course of the few days that we spent at the show, I made a remark about her to my Ghanaian friend and she immediately stated: "...she is the most consistent person I have ever known".
This statement jolted me into realizing that consistency in personality and human relations was a rare asset among many business persons and professionals. In order to be successful in establishing a brand whether as a fashion designer, a lawyer, a professor or a public relations guru, there is an irrefutable need to build your personal brand. That brand must be unmistakable and consistent with the image that you wish to portray.
Do you know of any astounding brands? Be it a company or a person or an organization? That brand has 3 indispensable components to it.
The first component is that the brand stands for something. Whoever created that brand has a point of view. This is known as distinctiveness.
The second component is that the brand connects to what someone else or a certain group of persons considers as important. In other words, that brand has relevance.
The third and perhaps most vital component is that the brand must be consistent. That is, those who find that brand to be relevant must enjoy a reliable relationship based on the consistent conduct that they have observed about that particular brand.
Once you have defined your brand using these three ingredients, you can then proceed to make your brand to become strong. First decide what you believe in and then base all your actions on what you believe. This is when you start to distinguish yourself from the multitude.
Making a commitment to stay true to what you believe is much easier said than done. The average person will experience a myriad of obstacles in the bid to stay true to certain values or commit to certain goals or causes. But if despite the many obstacles, you are able to do what you said you would do, then you would have overcome a major hurdle in the race to building your strong brand.
Integrity is a precious commodity in our society today as the quest for gain has overtaken the need to make one's actions and conduct reflect genuine values. Being able to stay true to yourself and practice sincerity is what makes a strong brand.
Think of Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler and Michael Jackson. What distinctive qualities define these individuals? What did they do on a consistent basis?
Company brands such as Coca Cola, MTN and Chicken Republic attract the most attention from those who find them the most relevant.
How can you make yourself or your establishment the most relevant to your target group?
Creating and maintaining a personal or corporate brand that stands out from the crowd will take some serious level of creative thinking and soul searching. Like earlier said, a strong brand is built on specific values and beliefs. What are your values? What do you believe? How can you make your actions to align with these values and beliefs? Also ask yourself: whose needs do you understand? Do you have a desire to meet those needs? And how will you be able to meet those needs while staying true to your values?