Don’t destroy your brand as you try to build it. It sounds like common sense, which it is, but it is not common usage.

At work (or anywhere else for that matter), I wanted people to like me, so I always volunteered for extra tasks, to work more than anyone else. While others would have 5 tasks for a project, I would take on 10. Go me, team Sheila. I was very productive. I’d get 7 or 8 things done compared to everyone else, but I’m sad to say I did this for a number of years before I realized the damage I was doing to my personal brand.

People don’t stick with a cellular provider that works only 70% of the time. A car is not dependable if one day out of the week it doesn’t start. And mayhem would promptly ensue if my New York Times had 30% of the pages missing.The same is true for business and your personal brand. In my case, I was an unreliable brand. While my measurement system relied on the number of tasks completed, I missed the true metric of what was promised and what was delivered. Sure, I got eight things done, but what about the two other tasks that I failed to do? Business has two measurements – what got done and what didn’t. This is not like that aptitude test where you answer as many as you can. This is someone waiting to be picked up and left stranded. Sorry you’re still waiting at the airport for me to pick you up, but let me tell you all the other cool stuff I got done today.Take a moment to think about this. What is your brand? Your brand is based around the problems you solve. For example, Spanx provides body contouring for smooth fitting clothes. Damaging to the brand would be items that created unsightly bulges and rolls. Back to you. What is your brand?

Just as a brand has an image and builds loyalty around that image, we have personal brands that are similar. MAC is more of an artistry line of products with vivid colors and Bobbi Brown is more classic and natural. You select the brands based on the look you want and you develop a certain expectation for the product.

So, how do you go about building your brand?

1. What needs do you fill?
2. For the need you fill – what do people find the most valuable in what you provide? (e.g. I anticipate needs, I can spot trends, etc.) What do you have to offer? What purpose do you fill?
3. How do you prioritize? We do not operate in a vacuum. You can’t be all things to all people.

Do periodic brand reviews. Some things will work and some will not. Your goals may change. Just as brands sometimes diversify, there are other times when they tighten up. Few things: find a few people you respect, tell them you are developing your brand. Look at is as going to a trainer saying, I want to run a half marathon, what do I need to do? I’m running 6 miles a day Monday through Friday and  10 miles on Saturday with a day of rest on Sunday. The answer may be “Great! You are on track. Here are some tips, though. Make sure you are getting enough protein and sleep and train lightly the week before the event.”

Beware of  creating something or focusing on areas no one cares about. Come on, did anyone really think flatforms were a good idea? Whether the feedback is direct or indirect, pay attention to it. Take it in, analyze and use as appropriate.

Finally, if you do start to get the feeling you are about as useful as the “pager” abandon your brand immediately. Don’t try to glam them up or try to legitimatize the value. Don’t even waste more time reading – get a new brand, ASAP.

pager (also known as a beeper) is a wireless telecommunications device that receives and displays numeric and/or receives and announces voice messages. One-way pagers can only receive messages, while response pagers and two-way pagers can also acknowledge, reply to, and originate messages using an internal transmitter