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Most people I know have sunglasses. … In fact, many of you have several. They’re in the car, in your night-stand, in your briefcase or backpack, or hiding around the house “lost.” Some of you buy “cheap” sunglasses because you regularly loose, break, scratch, or misplace your sunglasses. Others, you know who you are, are sunglass snobs. People like you (and me!) buy Oakleys or Ray Bans. We’re brand conscious.

Being a brand-conscious consumer isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. It kinda depends. Why do you buy the brand? What does it stand for? … Some people buy branded items because of how others will view them. “If I wear Oakley’s, people will think I’m athletic. Or cool.” … Others buys branded items because of their belief the product is better. “Ray Bans last longer. Or provide better protection for my eyes because of their unique lens.”

This week’s blog article is not going to focus on whether or not you should buy branded items. The focus is on your brand. You have one. It’s either a high-end brand (like Oakley) or a “no-name” brand. Your “brand” is kinda like your reputation. You have one. Others know your brand. They know what you stand for. They know what actions you take. They know how you treat others. They know whether or not you can deliver.

There are extremists on the branded buyers scale. Some NEVER buy branded goods. Others ALWAYS buy branded goods. I’ve know some people who wanted buy a branded item BECAUSE it was branded. I’ve also known some people who won’t buy a “non-branded” item BECAUSE it wasn’t branded. Wow –this is complicated!!!

While I can’t fully explain individual consumer purchasing behavior, I can understand that each of us has a brand. As a leader, you have a leadership brand. The question is not whether or not you have one. The question is what brand do you have and what does it stand for.

This is a short-list of some things I want my brand to represent. While not exhaustive, it provides a glimpse into my brand strategy. It provides an insight into my personal values. My personal and professional development activities are tied to my brand strategy. 360 feedback, performance evaluations, and self-reflection help me know how I’m doing. Is my brand getting stronger in the areas that are important to me? Where do I need to improve? Adjust? Develop a new brand strategy?

  1. Serving others.
  2. Adding value.
  3. Challenging the status quo.
  4. Providing encouragement.
  5. Developing talent.
  6. Creating innovative solutions that are simple and practical.
  7. Reflecting the Fruits of the Spirit.
  8. Finding common ground. Mediating. Communicating.
  9. Keeping things (usually crises) in perspective.

What is your personal leadership “brand?” What are you known for? Are you increasing the value of your brand? As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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