Will Your Reputation Be Remembered?

Whenever I ask someone what they want to be known for – what reputation they would like to have – I’m often surprised at how low people set their sights.

One newspaper editor I asked said, “I’d like to be known as a good journalist and a nice guy.”

The fact he was the editor suggested the first part was probably taken care of. As for being ‘nice’ – whilst that might be rarer in the world of journalists (rated alongside politicians, lawyers and estate agents for their likability), in the wider world, on the whole, people are nice.

So the reputation he was hoping for was one that did nothing to set him apart from others.

It’s more than being memorable

Another answer I received was from a workshop attendee who, when asked what he wanted to be known for, said, “I just want to be memorable”. He was in sales and his aim was to walk away from a customer meeting knowing he’d made a lasting impression.

My response was, “But memorable for what?”

After all, if the next time he called a customer the person thought, “Oh I remember this guy – he’s the idiot who turned up late, called my by the wrong name, spilt his coffee over my desk, didn’t know a thing about his product and insulted the receptionist on the way out,” his wish would have been granted…but for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t dictate – influence

Now, I’m perfectly aware that, in reality, you may not have a lot of say in what your reputation is. After all, you can’t force people to deliver a set message when your name is mentioned.

But what you can do is use your personal brand to influence how you’re seen by others, so they automatically think of those things when they think of you. I call it The Nike Effect.

For nearly 30 years now, Nike has been promoting the same brand message – three little words that have appeared in every aspect of its marketing, from billboards to TV ads, social media to product packaging. Eight letters that have seeped into your subconscious so whenever you hear the word ‘Nike’ your brain automatically tacks on the strapline – or reputation – it’s fostered: Just Do It.

You’re no different from Nike

You have to clearly set out what you’d like your reputation to be, then convey that message each time people come into contact with your personal brand, in order to subtly influence their views.

Remember though: if you’re going to go to the effort of doing that, you want to set your sights on a reputation that’s distinctive enough to set you apart. That even…dare I say it…bigs you up a bit.

Be specific

If you took a gander at my own personal brand, under the heading Reputation you’d read:

I know my stuff and I’m the go-to person for personal brand, delivering it in a double espresso style.

I don’t just want to be known as ‘a personal brand expert’. I want people to say, “Man…she knows her stuff!”

I don’t want to blend into the crowd. I want people to say, “You want some personal brand training or coaching – go to Jennifer Holloway.”

But it’s that last bit – the double espresso – that’s the differentiator I really want to be recognised for.

Unlike the newspaper editor, I don’t want people saying I’m ‘nice’. I want people saying, “She’s not everyone’s cup of tea but if you want someone who’s full of energy and will give your staff a kick up the backside, she’s your woman.”

So what do you want to be known for? Have you even considered what your reputation is and what it could be? There’s a comment box with your name on it waiting for you below (well, if you’re name is ‘Leave a message’ that is).

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