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Personal Branding: Protecting Your Brand

We live in strange times. It’s hard not to turn on a radio or a television set without seeing advertisements for identity theft protection or reputation defense. It’s not only imperative now to physically protect our home, family and possessions – it’s also extremely important to protect our virtual “possessions” as well as our reputation.

With the exponential growth of the Internet over the last 2 decades, the use of online social networking, paying bills online, and the vast personal information available through social media sites has made the risk of identity theft an increasingly growing problem.

Our personal lives are quickly becoming a huge set of data points. Naturally, businesses, large and small, are no exception to this reality. There’s really only one sure-fire solution to protecting your personal information, your reputation and even your personal brand – control your information!

I know this sounds simple, but in reality, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that what we say and do stays only with our “inner circle” of friends and business associates. This is simply not the case anymore. This kind of thinking can lead to major problems in your business (and personal life.) How many times have you heard of someone getting fired over Facebook pictures? Or an ill-advised “tweet?” How many businesses have had to “clean up” a mess after a leaked memo, or distance themselves from an employee or spokesperson’s statements? It happens more than you would think.

With our branding agency, when focusing on personal branding for our clients, one of the most important things we try to do is “protect the brand.” Sometimes a person’s personal brand is the most valuable asset that they possess. It’s what makes customers choose to do business with them as opposed to their competition.

In order to protect your personal brand, first and foremost, you must be aware of your image. How do your customers and potential customers view you and your business? What attracted them to you in the first place? If you have a successful personal branding strategy, then the answer is...your personality!

We have always said that “People Buy People.” But don’t forget the inevitable hidden truth to that – “People Return People.” Yeah, it sounds a little corny, but it’s true…as quickly as your personal brand can attract customers, it can also cause them to “return” your services and go with someone else. This can only happen if you betray the trust that your clients or customers have in you – whether it is your fault or not! Have a plan in place to defend yourself and your brand, if you find that someone has challenged it.

Defending your personal brand online is key to making sure that your clients are always getting the true representation of your brand in everything you do. Your choice of employees, the tone of your marketing campaigns, your social media activity and your public speaking or sales events – all should revolve around one thing – the lifeblood of you business: your personal brand.

Just by staying actively involved and being aware of how your brand is being perceived will keep you ten steps ahead of the competition. Make sure you know what your customer’s preferences are. Make sure you know immediately if they have complaints – and find a way to rectify them. Not only will you understand your customers better, but they will also respect you more, knowing that you have your head in the game.

Have a game plan. Be involved. Defend your personal brand when necessary and never stop proactively showcasing who you are and why you should be your client’s first choice.