“On my honour, I promise to do my best.”
– Opening line of the Scout Promise (UK)
A personal brand is very much like a promise. A Boy Scout’s honour should be with them for life, even after they’ve left the organization and moved on. Likewise, your brand should be with you all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
However, our fast-paced society demands a lot from us, and constantly bombards us with in-person and web-based distractions that can throw you off. Perhaps you’re having fun with friends and family and you forget that when you’re in the public eye, you’re always representing your brand. One ill-conceived act and your brand promise can be broken.
Likewise, one wrong posting on any social media platform can change people’s perception of you online – not just the ones who happened to see when you post, but all those who may visit your page later to learn more about you. No matter how carefully you think you’ve locked your privacy settings, if a future employer decides to dig deep into your background, those inappropriate pictures or rants can be found.
We all remember when Facebook was launched as a platform for college kids to share their extra-curricular activities (of course now it has many business applications, including job search). You must think beyond the present moment, to what your postings will say about you as a professional and job seeker.
Be true to who you are at all times and in all places. Don’t be artificial or dishonest. Be proud of who you are. Be confident. Be honest and respectful of your brand and maintaining that promise.
Some celebrities, in large part because they’re under constant scrutiny, trip up and break their brand promise in a big way. Yet think of someone like Oprah, who manages to have a lot of fun, stay real and authentic, and always portray herself as the woman we’ve come to know and revere.
What promise do you make with your personal brand? How do you keep that promise? Have you ever slipped up, and how did you find your footing again?