Friday, April 25, 2014

Your Actions Define Your Personal Brand

Your Actions Define Your Personal Brand

The 1st Engineer Battalion
Unit Insignia
When I read the article, "The Brand Artists," in the April 2014 issue of Inc. Magazine by Tom Foster it reminded me that branding is a universal concept. It applies to products, businesses, events, etc. Mostly, it applies to people because it takes people to build businesses, to make products, to plan events. The article focused on communicating that branding is no longer about what we say, it's about how what we say and what we do align with each other. A quote jumped out at me which evoked memories of the mottoes of some of the military units I'd served in, or alongside and how they helped the people who belonged to them develop their own brands.


The 91st Engineer Battalion
Unit Insignia
When I was a Combat Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army, I served with the 1st Engineer Battalion. Our motto was, "Always First!" These words helped convey our "brand" as a military unit, that's for sure. However, what was more compelling was the fact that we could also say that the 1st Engineer Battalion was the oldest, most decorated engineer battalion in the United States Army. The unit's long list of decorations awarded throughout 165 years of history reflected the bold actions the battalion had taken in the past and they created a legacy for every Sapper who served in it to fulfill. The motto compelled us to be better. We wanted to be better for each other so that, together, we could do great things when we were called to do so.

There was another motto which had made an impression on me even though I never served in the unit. The 91st Engineer Battalion must have liked their motto so much that they put it on their unit insignia, "Acts Not Words!" Their branding message, I think, said it all.  


Ranger tab- A symbol of bold leadership!
Motto: "Rangers Lead the Way!"
I didn't serve in a Ranger battalion, but I did earn the right to wear the Ranger tab, which means I graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning, GA. The motto of the Rangers is, "Rangers Lead the Way!" What I learned from the experience is: Bold thinking leads to bold action! Bold action comes from conviction! Conviction comes from thinking about what you believe in. Find conviction and you can do things you never thought possible. You can "lead the way!" 

The point is, all three mottos create a compelling message, a compelling brand. They have the potential to inspire! The reason? Because each needs to be proven in order to have any meaning. The legacy needs to be fulfilled and perpetuated through actions in order to continue to be true. The people who wear these insignia must take action to define the brand in the way they want it to be perceived! They must think! They must find conviction! They must take action to accomplish their mission, regardless of the situation!


When Acts Personify Words There is Meaning. 

The quote Foster provided in his article was provided by Kelly O'Keefe, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter advertising school, who was illustrating how American Express's message about wanting to help small businesses didn't have any meaning until they launched Small Business Saturday, an annual national campaign intended to drive business to small businesses. As O'Keefe put it, "That's a physical manifestation of corporate behavior. It's not a message, it's an action- and that action shows intent."


Here's The Logic: 

Intent = Purpose.  
Purpose is created by values. 
Actions show Intent.
Therefore: 
Actions show your Values to the people in your World!


Three critical questions:

What Values are you branding yourself with to the people in your World through your Actions?

What Values do you WANT to brand yourself with?

What Actions will close the gap between those two answers?
The difference between the first two questions creates your To-Do List for Continuous Improvement.



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BOOM!

Tom Eakin
Success Engineer, BoomLife

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