“Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.” This famous and widely used quote from Jeff Bezos, president of Amazon, perfectly sums up the concept of personal branding. I love it because it highlights one of the most important concepts of personal branding. Your brand is not what you say, what you are, or what you think you are. Your brand is what others think of you. This concept of personal brand can be synonymous with reputation, prestige … because it basically has to see what place you occupy in the minds of others, what is the image they have of you. Therefore, managing your personal brand is nothing more than being proactive in managing this perception process and getting them to perceive you as you want to be perceived.
Perception and personal brand go hand in hand. And in this sense, there are 3 psychological effects that can clearly enhance or harm your personal brand.
- HALO EFFECT: it is the tendency for the positive impressions we have of a person, company, brand or product in one area to positively influence one’s opinion or feelings in other areas. The halo effect, which is a cognitive bias, can possibly prevent someone from accepting a person, a product, or a brand based on the idea of an unfounded belief about what is good or bad. In reference to personal branding, it is important to understand that if you are able to stand out in a specific area it can influence the way you are valued positively in other areas. In this sense, it is essential that you are clear about your strengths and you know how to highlight them (I recommend my post Do you know your strengths?).
- PRIMACY EFFECT: it is another cognitive bias according to which people tend to remember more and better the information that has been presented first, while they tend to forget the information perceived later. It’s basically about understanding the importance of making a good first impression. As the saying goes “you only have one chance to make a good first impression.” So keep that in mind. Your personal brand will depend notably on how your first contact with your target audience (your students, your clients, your workers …) has been. Think carefully and prepare this first impression thoroughly because it is really important in their perception of you.
- RECENCY EFFECT: it is another cognitive bias that explains that people remember better the information that they have presented to us at the end. It has to do with how our memory works. In any case, it is very important to understand that the last thing we say, the last information we present will be remembered to a greater extent and will serve to be perceived in a certain way. In this sense, when you have to communicate with someone pay special attention to the last thing you present to them. What happens in the final part will notably help people to remember what you wanted to convey to them and will also improve or worsen their perception of you. Basically the importance of finishing well, of saving something important and memorable for last. It is the importance of dessert in a meal or the ending that makes a movie go from good to extraordinary … or to average.
Remember that your personal brand is not in you, it’s in other people’s minds. So you must understand well how you are perceived. You have 3 psychological effects that if you manage them well will enhance your personal brand, but if you don’t manage them well, they can harm it.
Your brand is the perception that others have of you. But, as Elon Musk said, “Branding is just a perception, and the perception will match reality over time“.