Ultimately, your brand is a promise.
We mentioned earlier the importance of authenticity in positioning your brand.
One reason for this is that people expect your behaviour to be consistent with their impressions of your brand, and pre-emptively adjust their own responses accordingly.
For example, it has been statistically proven in the sporting arena that players with a reputation for foul play are consistently penalised more than those with a reputation for good play, regardless of whether or not they are actually at fault!
Anchoring your brand to your values is one way to ensure consistent, authentic behaviour.
So what are your values?
What is your why?
Values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live your life and go about your business.
Yet because values are even less tangible than personal brand, how can you locate them in yourself and others?
Well think of a time when someone asked you to do something you were uncomfortable with.
Why did you feel this way?
What did you do?
Does it still bother you now?
Our values are more often than not revealed to us in these moments, so personally confronting issues like this can give significant insight into who we are, what we hold true, and how we will respond to like situations in the future.
In the same way, there must be an alignment between personal values and the people and organisations you become involved with.
Authors tend to refer to an alignment of personal and organisational values as a good brand ‘fit’.
According to organisational psychologists:
“a fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organisation and those of the person”.
A good fit is important to individuals, organisations and indeed society as a whole as it is associated with a range of hugely positive outcomes.
As you would expect, in addition to mental and physical health benefits, people who fit well with their organisations
- identify more with their organisation;
- are more likely to remain with that organisation;
- have greater personal satisfaction;
- are more committed; and
- perform better at that organisation.
Yet although values tend to be stable, they can and do change over time – when you were young, free, single, success may be measured by money and status; whilst later, a good work/life balance may be a higher order priority.
Ultimately, in as much as you can influence your brand, you can also determine your values.
As Mahatma Ghandi once said,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. And your values become your destiny”.
This is something we will explore in the next and final presentation of this Unit.
For now though, think of a sporting team or club you admire.
What are the values that underpin their brand?
How do these values compare to your own?
Don’t just compare the actual words; compare the actions those words embody.
Would you like to work or play for this club or team one day?
So what can you bring to them?
Have a think about it.