Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room

Your Outer Brand Is a Reflection of Your Inner Brand

Article by Malcolm Levene

In short, how you feel about yourself on the inside, will be reflected on the outside. Quite recently, there has been a lot of media attention being paid to the new wave of being ‘nice’. In fact, The Sunday Times Style section tells us: “It’s Cool To Be Kind Right Now.” You may be asking ‘what’s that got to do with my brand?’ Well, just about everything.

When I read that Victoria Beckham is doing “charity work in Kentucky”, I realised that like the New Black is now Colour & 50 is the new 40, the New All about Me is All about Us. Hooray! It’s fashionable to be kind, generous and nice. I like that. And one part of me is delighted that common decency, thoughtfulness and kindness is now considered fashionable. However, having spent years in the fashion business, I’m wondering how enduring this new trend will be.

Following the hottest trends can be mildly addictive. I know, because, when I was in the fashion business, much to my chagrin, I fell into that trap on more than one occasion. After pitching up at a handful of fashion shows, ranging from New York to Barcelona, one can get carried away with the fashion cognoscenti swooning over a designer’s, often un-wearable collection. Think Christian Lacroix’s failed, loss-making, couture-fashion business. The top fashion buyers bought it and loved it. However, that was it, customers didn’t. Sadly, his brand didn’t have any commercial recognition or appeal. In part, that’s because it was hugely expensive, beyond exclusive and out of reach for mere mortals. In addition, the brand was too ephemeral.

A brand, even a Personal Brand cannot afford to be, or to be known as ephemeral. And in order for your Personal Brand to be strong, impactful and lasting, it has to be able to tell and sell a good story. Here, I’m referring to your ‘inside story’, or your Inner Brand. An Inner Brand that tells a good story needs to be congruent, authentic and credible. And achieving that will largely depend on who you are on the inside: your Inner Brand. Think about it, the people we most admire or warm to aren’t always the most beautiful on the outside. Think Mother Theresa, Susan Boyle, Ugly Betty (the character of the title). Perhaps Vera Lynne, what about Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State?

So, in order to create a Personal Brand that’s authentic, congruent, impactful and sustainable, follow these 9 Tips:

  • Reject quick fixes and replace them with patience
  • Be generous to others, both in word and deed
  • Think positive thoughts, even when you feel less than positive
  • Be grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices in order to have the life you want
  • Remove prejudices and replace them with learning
  • Offer compassion and empathy to others
  • Be a good listener
  • Remember, giving is the new getting

“I think of kindness like an antidepressant” Robert Holden, The Sunday Times riddle_stop 2

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