by Adedoyin Jaiyesimi
In response to my last article on building a personal brand, I was asked what a person can do if they have already damaged their personal brand in one way or the other. I decided to do a full post on it because I realised that many people, either through youthful exuberance or ignorance, have damaged their reputation or personal brand.
I love being a youth. The energy that comes with being young is a treasure that should be cherished. This notwithstanding, I don’t like this arrogance that many young people carry on their shoulders these days. You know the ‘too cool for school’ attitude. It is this attitude that prevents many young people from honing their crafts fully. It is also this same attitude that has led many to burn bridges that turned out to be crucial for their next phase in life. It’s cool to be young but it is much cooler to have a personal brand that will open doors for you.
So what can you do if you have damaged the brand ‘you’? I suggest that you first take a few steps back. Reassess yourself. Where are you going? Where are you now? What is stopping you from getting to where you are going? For some it may be a bad attitude while for others it is a nonchalant spirit that has caused their personal brand accounts to be red. You have to be honest with yourself when you are doing this. It may help to ask people that you trust to help you with this. Sometimes, it is difficult for us to see our flaws. I have met people who didn’t think they were arrogant. They just saw it as being confident. To them, the people who said they were arrogant were just threatened by them. Well, if everywhere you go people keep saying that you are arrogant, including people in high places of authority, is it really possible for all these people to be threatened by you? I don’t think so.
Once you identify what the problem is, the next thing for you to do is to list the values that you want your personal brand to be synonymous with. Essentially, what do you want this new you to be associated with? Honesty? Resourcefulness? Diligence? Delivery of results? Whatever values appeal to you, list them down. Now begin to think of how you can implement these values. You may have burnt certain bridges beyond repair, but it is still possible to fix some bridges or build new ones. You however have to do so with this new you. Look at it like you are operating from a clean slate. Others won’t see it, especially those who have been accustomed to the old you. Don’t worry; just be consistent in pushing these new values that you want to be associated with. So if previously you’ve been seen as a mediocre person, start doing your work with diligence. Go the extra mile. Submit that deliverable before the deadline. Your consistency is what will drive this process. If it is perceived as a one-off then you shouldn’t bother going through this process because it would amount o a waste of time.
The last thing I would suggest is that you should surround yourself with people that possess the values that you want. The people you regularly associate with rub off on you one way or the other. You can learn from them and you can also ask them questions. How do they do what they do? What did they have to do to become excellent at that thing they are known for? You have to be open-minded and willing to learn. Even if this person is your subordinate in the professional world, swallow your pride and learn from them. It will make you better in the long run.
By taking the steps listed above, you will be well on your way to restoring a personal brand that has been damaged. A large chunk of the effort lies with you. You are the number one marketer and publicist of the brand ‘you’.
Photography: Stratify.co & Uniquemarketingtool.com
Adedoyin Jaiyesimi is a Media content creator and Brand Manager. The various publications she has written for includes Y! Magazine (now Y! Africa), Discovery, Pride Magazine Nigeria, Butterscotch magazine amongst others. She currently consults for small businesses in the area of social media strategy and branding and she provides editorial consultancy services to magazines and blogs. She tweets @msdoyeen and blogs at adedoyinjaiyesimi.wordpress.com.