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Dapper Dossier No. 7

How Your Actions Define Your Personal Brand

We know what a business brand is, but do we all agree on what a personal brand is? While it’s not entirely clear, I like to think of a personal brand as what people say about you when you’re not with them. Basically, it’s your reputation—the good, the bad, and the ugly—that you’ve become known for.

So, what do people say about you?

Near or at the top is whether you follow through on what you said you would do. That’s trust, and it’s the number one characteristic of any leader. Full stop. There’s really nothing more important that you can do to build or destroy your reputation with others.

If you don’t follow through on what you said you’d do, it’s easy to make people feel unimportant and under-appreciated. Like Maya Angelou said, “It’s not about what you said or did, it’s how you made them feel.”

On the flip side, if you do what you said you’d do, people will think of you as someone they can turn to when they need help. Whether you’re in sales or service, that’s the goal: get someone to need something you have to give them.

Marketing is all about getting to and staying top-of-mind. If you can do something well enough for long enough, you’ll start to gain the reputation of an expert in your field. People will turn to you regularly for what they need, and they’ll start to refer their family, friends, and colleagues your way too—all great things for your professional life.

In the Land of Word of Mouth, reputation is king and referrals are currency. If you botch your personal brand with unfulfilled action, then your words become as hollow as an empty chest. Good luck trying to leverage new business or repeat clients if that happens.

So, build a strong personal brand. Found it on doing what you’d say you’d do. Follow through for others. Put them first. Become known for doing a few things outstandingly well. Get other people talking about how you always come through for them when needed.

Just remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.”

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