How well do you protect your brand? I’m not referring to legalities of branding. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m not referring to the marketing needs within your company.
I’m talking about protecting YOU and what you project into the world. Let’s be honest here. Most days are probably a whirlwind for you. You have a calendar chock full of daily tasks and activities. You don’t have time to think about, contemplate or have any introspection about your activities. You’re just running from commitment to commitment and meeting your daily objectives. You are focused on getting through the day.
And that’s exactly the problem. You probably aren’t devoting much thought as to what you give out to the universe daily. This is due to the fact that you’re focusing on what comes next, getting to your next appointment on time or how you’re going finish the proposal that your prospective client just sent you.
I attended a wonderful event out of town the other night. There were 700 women that had come together to socialize, network and learn. As I made my way to my assigned seat for dinner, I was surprised to see someone at my table that looked familiar. I walked over and asked her how I knew her. She also felt that I looked familiar and we realized that we had met in Cincinnati before she had recently moved to a new city. Her answers to my questions were short, terse and not overly friendly. Frankly, I get excited when I see someone I know while I’m out of town, and I was surprised that she didn’t share in the excitement.
I made my way around the table and met the different women. They were all friendly and excited to meet me. While I was deep in conversation with one, I glanced over at my old acquaintance. The entire table was deep in conversation while she sat there, quietly staring at her phone with a sour look on her face. Within the next 15 minutes, I observed again to see if her demeanor had changed. She still sat there, making no attempt to introduce herself and sending a clear message through her non-verbals that she wasn’t interested in talking and definitely not happy to be there.
Now, the reason I bring this up is because she was sending me a very clear message — and it wasn’t a good one. This woman makes her living in a very competitive industry. She made no effort to engage anyone in conversation and convey a positive message. As for the branding message she was sending? It was not one that would increase her stock in her industry.
Maybe some of you are thinking that she was having a bad day. Yes, there are days where you’re preoccupied with issues or problems and you find it difficult to make an effort in public. However, when you represent your brand, you can’t afford to have this happen. When you’re feeling like this, you have two choices: You can either have a talk with yourself and commit to putting your best foot forward or you can come to the conclusion that you’re better off staying home.
The problem with this woman’s behavior is the following: I immediately assume that this is who she is ALL the time. It’s very possible that this is the furthest thing from the truth. She could have been holding on by a thread and having an absolutely rotten day. However, I sized her up through her actions in this one experience. People make judgments of others within the first few seconds of meeting them. I’m not saying that this is right, but it is a reality of human behavior.
The bottom line is that when you’re in a business where there’s massive competition, you just can’t afford this type of branding. In fact, no matter who you are or what you do, you can’t afford this type of branding. Maybe it’s time for you to reassess the message you are sending the world and ensure that it truly defines YOU.