How to Effectively Brand Yourself—and Your Business

It’s easy to view yourself separately from your company. But for your customers, colleagues, business connections, and competitors, you are your company. You’re the embodiment of everything your business stands for and you serve as its representative 24/7. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re always exemplifying the qualities of a high-caliber professional—no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Posture: Mastering the Balancing Act

If you want your brand to shine, you have to find the right balance. Be confident, but not arrogant. Articulate, but never condescending. Display good manners, a positive attitude, and a friendly disposition. Remember, everything you say and do will affect how others perceive both you and your business.

Social Media Personas: More Important Than You Might Think

It’s easy to forget that there are actual people connected to blog comments, online forums, and social networking sites. Controversial subjects, current events, and trending topics might entice you to join the conversation, but remember to always separate yourself from anything that might reflect negatively on you or your company. A poorly judged message or comment thrown into cyber space could easily come back to haunt you later on—whether through missed opportunities, bad publicity, lost customers or worse. Your social media persona is another extension of your business and your brand—don’t tarnish your own reputation for the sake of a questionable meme.

Appearance: Matching Your Wardrobe with Your Goals

There’s a reason you’ve heard the expression “dress for success” about a million times: there’s substance behind it. Maintaining a polished look not only helps you build credibility, but it also leaves a lasting impression. Think about it: do you want to impress potential customers with a well-dressed appearance or edify your competitors by showing the world you didn’t care enough to make the effort? If you want to be successful, you must first appear successful.

Etiquette: It’s All About the Follow-Through

One surefire way to lose a sale (or leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth) is to drop the ball when it comes to your follow-up. Manners are important in business just as they are in life—and adhering to proper etiquette will go a long way toward reassuring others that you’re worth their time. When it comes to second, third, and fourth interactions, always be punctual in your response, timely in your follow-up with new leads, and maintain the same friendly attitude whether your offer is accepted or rejected. Bottom line? Remind people why they like you every time you speak.

If you want customers, vendors, contacts, colleagues or employees to admire and respect you, you have to give them a reason. Successfully branding a business all begins with you, your actions, and others’ perceptions of you. So the question becomes: Does your personal brand match what you want for your company?

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