Business AdVISE By Teresa Vise

Special to The North Jefferson News

Bruce Lee, $1 million.

James Dean, $5 million.

Elvis Presley, $52 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these are just a few examples of the brand value of a name.

Our last articles have concentrated on the concept of branding and how it affects company image, positions marketing message and potentially drives sales. Have you stopped to think about your own personal brand image? I don’t mean the brand image of your company, but I mean YOUR brand image.

What works for products, goes for people too. Just as you can develop a brand image for your company, you can also build a strong brand identity for yourself. To brand yourself, you need to take an honest and heartfelt look at what is important to you. What are your core values and beliefs?

A “Brand You” is a distillation of who you really are and how you want to appear to your customers, employees and management. This kind of clear bottom line definition will help to insure that you show and tell, not just tell, your story.

Examples that quickly come to mind are Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, and Mr. Sam Walton of Walmart legend. When we think of their products, we tend to think of an image of not just ownership in the company, but participation with the customer.

Try to discern what makes you unique and hard to replicate. This type of thinking is exactly what we discussed earlier in developing a brand strategy for your company, so now let’s bring it down to the bottom line YOU.

A company is only going to be as solid as the person out in the front. If you are the business owner calling the shots, it is important to keep the shots in line with the core values of the organization and you.

Think about it. You cannot lead, where you cannot go. Think about the tag line, “In the long run, it’s Long-Lewis.” This slogan has told Birminghamians for years that they could rely on the name and the purchase.

Perhaps this is a new way of thinking for you, but it may help to start to realize that you are already a brand. Your brand is comprised of your experience, skills, behaviors and even your name. When you get your arms around these facts, you will be better prepared to develop a strategy that has roots in your personal purpose and principles.

Whether you have created your own business, bought a franchise or work for someone else, work to create the mind set of the entrepreneur into your branding strategy. Entrepreneurial thinkers are true problem solvers, and critical to the health of an organization.

Workers, be they employees or employers, that think this way create value because they ARE value. This type of mindset has been discussed to be a key resource in previous articles written here on customer service.

Companies like Chick-fil-A empower front line employees to solve a problem immediately by empowering them with the power to say “Yes” to a customer request. Taking ownership of a task is the key to their success and repeat business.

Take the time this week to jot down some key ideas about yourself as you work toward your own personal brand. Some questions to ask are:

• What product or service can I uniquely offer?

• What is the quality of that I offer as a standard?

• What are my core values?

• What is my personal mission?

• What do I specialize in?

• What do these answers say about the personality and character that you portray? Is it innovative? Creative? Energetic? Sophisticated?

Good luck this week with developing a higher level of brand strategy for you. I know it will help you keep on target with the broader corporate message of your company.

Remember, take care of your customers, or someone else will.

Teresa Vise is the marketing, growth, events and special projects co-director for the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce. She received her MBA from Samford University and is a speciality sales professional with Sanofi Aventis. She can be reached at

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