Brand yourself … or be branded

The adage “first impressions matter” has never been truer. For better or worse in today’s digital-driven business environment you have less than 6 seconds to brand yourself. This often involves utilizing your online presence, which you should consider your virtual front door.

Your “front door” better be clean, accessible, inviting and most of all it should accurately reflect who you are. But even more importantly, in many instances, it should accurately reflect who you REPRESENT!

Many of the individuals that I speak with are heads of organizations that represent influential industries. They are responsible for providing the “voice” for numerous businesses, brands, and entities that are part of this collective. (For reference only, think AARP.)

These organizations carry considerable influence, both economically and politically in their area of expertise. Their member roll call is a who’s who of industry importance. The responsibility placed on those whose task it is to nurture and grow the member list is substantial and should not be taken lightly.

However, what I often see is a complacency. Either a result of not understanding the impact, not researching best practices, or simply being lazy.

Since this person is already standing in the “office” they totally ignore the front door. The basic lack of understanding regarding this astounds me… No, a better description would be that it perplexes me.

Here is why:

When you attend an event organized by one of these groups you are often in awe of the power on display. Fortune 100 CEO’s, captains of industry and political figures all mingle together for a common purpose. You leave understanding their depth, influence, significance and why if you are not already, you need to be a part of this organization.

The event empowers you. It has influenced you. It has imprinted upon you a positive brand image.

Now, if you were not already part of this organization, understood its significance and the influence being a member would offer, what would their “front door” convey?

Would it convey the advantages of being part of this collective? Would it influence you with its visual presence? Would you be encouraged to learn more? Would you be inspired to act?

If not, you are not capturing the purpose of this platform, and thus you are doing a tremendous disservice to your collective.

In the simplest terms, you have already been branded.