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Brands are Important – 7 Ways to Protect Your Brand

Brands are Important – 7 Ways to Protect Your Brand

Reputations are built over a lifetime but can be destroyed in seconds. The brand is the representation of the reputation of a company and more importantly, an individual. Brands are selling points for entering into business and personal relationships.

Athletes, entertainers, company executives and politicians pay money to create a brand but pay much more to rebuild and repair the reputation when damaging information floods the Internet. In some cases the damage hurts a professional career as in the case of former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel who consistently was in the news with erratic behavior during and after the season as described in detail by Kent Babb in his Washington Post article last month.

According to Kim Souza in the article, Wal-Mart Corporate Reputation Near the Bottom of the Retail Sector, negative public perception can also harm a business like Wal-mart which has lost over $612M since 2003 due to the ongoing investigation that it cheated to fast-track its international growth.

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The good news is that it’s not too late to learn these 7 ways to protect a brand:

1. Operate with integrity.

Honesty is the best policy but it is also a great practice to sustain a solid upstanding reputation. If there is a problem, own it, address it and improve. This requires self-perception of an individual but also genuine analysis of a company to determine where there might be loopholes in the sincerity and openness to those in personal and business relationships. Integrity is a great brand protector because it will cause customers, fans, investors, an employers to stick around when there is a mishap.

2. Be respectful of others at all times.

Brands are crushed all the time because of the hidden cameras and camera phones of others. There will be lots of encounters with people who prove that common sense is not common. There will plenty of occasions when someone “ruffles your feathers” and upsets you. Nonetheless, you must remain calm (e.g. no arguing, name calling and disrespectful words) because you never know who is watching or worse – getting footage for social media.

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3. Get rid of the dead weight.

Parasites can be people too. You can’t bring everyone with you as you go to the next level. People who don’t contribute to your personal well being or the company’s success should be left alone. If someone is not helping, they are usually subliminally harming.

Learn that it is okay to be alone. Learn that it is smart business both personally and professionally to not be around “yes men”. When protecting your brand, it is important to understand that if you want to lead the orchestra, you must be able to turn your back on the crowd.

4. Make time and money your best friends.

Time is the most valuable asset. Once gone it can’t be brought back. Money will come and go depending upon obligations and spending habits but will not always be easy to earn. People respect others who treat time and money like investments and watch closely if there is a valuable return on investment.

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For instance, flashy individuals create a brand of being superficial and careless with time and money which attracts the wrong people – the users, losers, and abusers.

5. Disassociate from other negatively perceived brands.

When high profile companies or people go through a scandal, the public opinion of the severity can sway consumer spend and result in a loss of revenue. No one knows this better than the highly acclaimed golfer, Tiger Woods, as he saw endorsements drop in 2009 based on what really was a private home matter that affected his brand.

According to Melanie Wells’ Forbes article, Accenture disassociated from him because they wanted other corporations to believe they valued morals and staking so much equity in his character put them in an odd position. While I still think that was overkill, it is a valuable lesson that people will judge and categorize based on associations – bad or good – which impact the brand.

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6. Safeguard all access to social media accounts.

For whatever reason social media has provided open doors to people’s lives and created self-made superstars through selfies, commentating through SnapChat and philosophers through tweets and posts. But one bad post can cause a loss of followers (not so detrimental), revenue, business deals and valuable relationships.

Do not let anyone have access to the passwords for social media accounts unless they are paid public relations or marketing personnel. If the accounts are on your phone, tablet or computer, always password-protect the devices when leaving unattended. Be sure to change the passwords at least twice a year.

7. Always be you.

Stand by your beliefs and morals. Do not allow outside influences move you in a direction that makes you uncomfortable. The quality of a person or company cannot be compromised for something that is in style today but harmful over time.

Think about a time when you have watched someone pretend to be a friend of someone who they later turned on for power. Was the power worth the new brand of being untrustworthy or conniving? Never lose you in the midst of change. In the long term, it is bad for the brand.

Featured photo credit: Robert Servais via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

  • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
  • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
  • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

2. Know Your Role and the Organization

Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

  • What questions do you have about the role?
  • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
  • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

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This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

I’ve heard many new employees say:

  • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
  • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
  • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
  • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

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Remember to:

  • Notice your assumptions
  • Focus on your own work
  • Ask questions, and
  • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

  • Helps you clarify expectations
  • Shows that you’ve done your research
  • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

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What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
  • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
  • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
  • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

  • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
  • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
  • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
  • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

Summing It Up

There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

  1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
  2. Know Your Role and the Organization
  3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
  4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
  5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
  6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
  7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
  8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
  9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

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Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

Reference

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