Build, Brand and Sustain

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP - International Business Speaker

What do you want to be known for and what will you stand for in 2007? Being a leader, taking a stance and setting the agenda are good ways to build what I call "reputational capital".

Every individual or organisation is like a stool. There are three legs to the stool. The first leg is your hard capital - your hard assets - bricks and mortar or computer networks. The second leg is your soft or human capital, your people. The third leg is your reputational capital. This takes years to build up and you can lose it in seconds.

Increase your reputational capital in 2007 and you will increase your financial capital by following these three tips.

1. Build

Logos are bought. Reputations are earnt. Continuously work on activities that will help build your credibility and visibility. The activities that have the highest return on investment for time, money and effort are usually the ones that are free. These are speaking, writing and being quoted in the media.

Aim to write and distribute one media release a month based on something new. For example a new idea, a new product or a new benchmark. Distribute it to a global audience using

2. Brand

A brand is a set of perceptions around you or your business. A brand contains aspirational elements of what you want your reputation to be. This can operate at a personal, internal or external level.

Build your personal reputation by working on three areas: core, built and perceived.

At the centre reaffirm your core values and what matters to you most. Nourish your built brand in your area of expertise (I call this expert power) by adding new skills, experiences and ideas. Aim to read at least one book a month and attend one professional development event in your area each quarter. Work on your perceived reputation by ensuring your intent, actions and public persona match your core and built reputations. It is about clarity, consistency and congruency.

3. Sustain

Sustain your reputation by putting in mechanisms to protect all you've worked for. Protect your unique intellectual property, products or processes using trademarks, copyright and other tools. Develop templates, processes and systems to streamline all your activities and make them easy to replicate by others. This will add real value to your reputation.

Ensure you think of the "what if" scenarios and have a plan for this if your initial strategies do not work out. What if my laptop got stolen for example?

Leave a legacy by giving back to the community - either in time, resources or support. Do this in a selfless way without expectation and your reputation will have a lasting impact.

If you enjoyed this article, read other wisdom from a host of experts who want to help you expect more in 2007.

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