How many times have our intentions been hindered by someone’s premature judgment? Specialist in the field of social behavior state that an opinion of you is made within 4 seconds of a person meeting you. That means if you had the slightest off day you could lose countless potential connections. We have to take time to understand that we are a walking, talking brand that is speaking louder than we know. If we adjust our perception and take care of our brand presence like the Fortune 500 companies we will see a tremendous jump in our effectiveness across the board.
By definition, a Brand is an unspoken promise of service or quality that people expect you to deliver. Whether you know they are expecting it or not, you have an obligation to come through or your reputation will suffer. Think of it this way, every single relationship you are in has an expectation attached. Your barber, church, business and even family all operate based on a brand. If mishandled, you can end up with all kinds of bad press about you. We live in a digitally connected world, something that happens in China this morning is appearing on local evening news. Information travels at light speed. One bad personal review can result in Twitter or Facebook posts within moments.
In an effort to reassure users, Facebook discloses it has received legal orders to turn over details on about one-thousandth of one percent of user accounts. So does Microsoft, and Google plans to do the same. What does all this mean? It simply means that your thoughts are your final frontier of privacy. If you want it to be private don’t say it and for God’s sake don’t post it. Whatever you put out into internet land will forever cycle around the viral universe and will have managed to find a multitude of landing stations and what’s more important is that it will NEVER die.
Google is not only the world’s most powerful search engine; it is a place for reputation management. Have you ever Googled yourself? Everything by you or about you has made its way online. It would be a smart thing to monitor how you are perceived so you can present the best possible view of who you really are.
Here are a few rules to help you own your personal brand:
- Own your online presence: This means you have to adjust security settings on all your social media sites. Sites like Facebook allow others to post via your timeline and this can be a problem if they are posting inappropriate material. You cannot use the excuse that you didn’t do it when you have complete control of your page. Many have loss jobs and other opportunities because a simple search turned up party pictures and other risqué images.
- Keep yourself presentable at all times: When you are building your reputation as a professional you have to make sure you are seen as such. Nothing is more discomforting than meeting someone who claims to be a hair stylist but their appearance is horrible. You must look like you’re going somewhere. People form lasting opinions from first impressions.
- Remember someone is always watching: We all long to go some place and let our hair down. Everyone enjoys a good time. But there must be awareness that even in the midst of having fun, you carry yourself like a professional. I have attended countless corporate sponsored retreats and witnessed executives running about with their “shirts” off in the spirit of having fun. Only to be embarrassed walking into morning meetings. The moral of the story is, home is where your hair should be let down, and the public is for good professional fun.
Nike, Apple and Coke have all been in the news at times for issues surrounding those associated with them. The one principle that runs true with them all is the importance of the ‘brand’ over any one individual. The only thing that cannot suffer is the brand! Hopefully we all take a closer look at how we represent ourselves. Facebook, Microsoft and Google are public sites and have no control over your privacy; that responsibility is yours. Every day someone is making a judgment call about you, make sure they are getting the right one.
By: Cherese Jackson