Iago knew of what he spoke of when saying, “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls.”
Your “good name” is your brand. It is what you are known for, whether you are trusted, and how you are respected. If determines who is willing to give you a break, bring you customers and offer you capital.
Everyone has a brand
You might think brands and branding are confined to the realm of corporations. But the fact is that every human carries a reputation. The personal brand is built over years and through thousands of interactions. Your brand is shared between friends, family, co-workers, customers, bankers, social circles and anyone who has developed an opinion about you.
And your brand affects your life accordingly.
For the entrepreneur, his or her personal brand largely becomes the business brand. If you are fortunate enough to grow your company, then the brand you present to your employees – and indeed to the employees you hire, the selection of which is influenced by your personality – will be reflected to your customers, suppliers and regulatory agencies.
In short, the sum of your actions define you, your corporate culture and your corporate brand.
Living the brand
The only way you as a person can have a positive brand is to live it. Likewise, the only way a company can present a positive brand is to live it too.
When I started Micrel in 1978, I did so with the intent of building an enduring company. No company survives or grows without people, both inside with employees and outside with the public. The Micrel corporate culture had to be positive in order to endure, and to be profitable.
This was something not to be left to chance. Early on, the brand followed me. Due to my upbringing, I had a reputation for honesty and integrity. That was reflected to our customers, and we became successful. So, I incorporated those traits, as well the traits of as respecting the dignity of every individual and doing whatever it took, as formal parts of the Micrel culture.
Thirty-six profitable years followed, despite the wildly cyclical industry we were in, despite the dot-com meltdown, and despite an intensely competitive market.
What are the elements of your brand?
Corporations need to formally define their corporate culture, which in part defines their brand. People rarely do this. Outside of organized influence – such as religious teaching, Boy Scout oaths, and such – few people consciously decide what they wish to be and behave accordingly. They do not construct their personal brand.
You should. Your reputation, your good name, is a lifelong project that impacts everything including your career, your marriage, and even how your children will function in society. You should decide early those values you want everyone to believe are parts of your very being. It starts by knowing the brand you want, then relentlessly living it with every breath.
“Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”