Building great relationships is just a step on the path to becoming a great marketer. You must be more than just a Relationship Architect; you also need to be a Brand Architect to fully reach the pinnacle. Look at creating relationships and building the brand as the marketing ying and yang. They fit perfectly together and fuel each other. This is true not only for building your company’s brand, but also for your IBB – your Individual Business Brand (or IBB).
Understanding how business relationships are formed doesn’t stop at just the individual relationships that build up your network. You have to create an image of what you represent that transcends single entity bonds. These highlighted characteristics must exist in the perception of all that make up your network. Your consistent behavior and the perception of who you are make up your overall brand or when it comes strictly to business, your Individual Business Brand (or IBB).
Let’s focus on the IBB. The sum of all of your actions, along with your performance and credibility, equate to your IBB. Because of this, it is important to have a clear understanding and vision of what your Individual Business Brand should be. If you are not what you say you are, people will find out very quickly and then they will rely on you less and not believe in you.
To build a solid IBB, first and foremost, without compromise, you must do what you say you are going to do. You cannot break promises. You have to create trust between yourself and the other person you are creating a relationship with, whether it’s with a consumer, a fan, a colleague, a superior, or a subordinate; any relationship. Your actions will have positive and/or negative ramifications depending on how you perform in this area. It will affect every aspect of you and your business. Your brand has to be built on a foundation of confidence and trust.
The problem that most often occurs in the “breaking promises” business is that many people do not have the ability to say “no,” or “sorry, I can’t.” This is an enormous pitfall. Many say “yes” because they believe that the positive response is what builds a strong relationship. The fact of the matter is that “yes” only has that type of outcome when the result is positive as well. A negative result erodes the relationship, and eventually erodes the brand. Your IBB can withstand a few relationship hits, but habitual miscues will absolutely crush the brand. My pal, Billy Fairweather, always says, “Once is a mistake, twice is a concern, but three times is a trend.” He may have borrowed that from his old boss, Chris Berman, if so I will give them both credit for that spot on quote.
Here are three simple guidelines to observe when making promises:
- You should only say “yes” and promise to deliver on something, if and only if you are certain you can keep the promise.
- If it’s a “maybe” then you should state that you “doubt” it can be done. “Maybe” is much too encouraging in the business of promises. You are much better positioned with “doubtful.” Then, if you can make it happen, you become the hero.
- If your gut tells you that you cannot deliver, then say, “Sorry, I wish I could, but it’s not possible” or simply, “No.” If you don’t respond honestly and in this manner, you are sure to be a goat, and will quickly erode your brand.
These three tips will be helpful in guiding you to a solid foundation for your brand. The relationships you create and the consistency of the promises you keep are essential to becoming a brand architect, whether you are building a company brand or your own IBB. Once a solid foundation is built and acknowledged by all you encounter, you will have instant credibility with all additional layers you add to the brand. So, to be true to the Brand, you must be true to your promises.