Tag Archives: branding

Brand Yo’Self

By Madison Huemmer

The first step in personal branding is to identify what presence you want to exude. Many people do not realize that your personal world and professional world world differ–but not as much as you think. If you fully cut off your true persona from your work life, you will come across as disingenuous. So for professionals it is about finding the right mix.

An exercise I use at all my presentations is to write down the top three characteristics you embody. For example, I perceive myself as confident, intelligent, and blunt. Next, ask a trusted colleague to asses you as well. The words I get most often are confident, dorky, honest, and talkative.

See how their perception matches up with your self-assessment and bring them with you to IPMI’s Leadership Summit! We will discuss how to make small changes to help you come across as genuine and professional, during first and continued impressions.

If you want an extra challenge I suggest asking a newer coworker as well–if they are comfortable. See how your first impressions match up with your lasting ones. Are they similar? Do you come of better earlier or later? Does your first impression need improvement? Are you portraying your authentic self?

Madison Huemmer is iParq’s EVP of sales and marketing. She will speak on this topic at IPMI’s 2019 Leadership Summit, Oct. 3-4 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Where Do We Go from Here?

By Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

HUMAN RESOURCES (HR) has come a mighty long way, but we still need to do more. Most millennials are already a part of our workforce—in fact, millennials are the biggest segment of the U.S. labor force. The oldest members of Gen­eration Z are starting their careers now, while baby boomers continue to make their retreat. We must keep in mind that our ability to be successful will require us to repre­sent the interests of the people we serve. At the end of the day, it’s people that matter.

Designing a culture, addressing the climate, and being obsessive about ensuring organizational pro­cesses are all critical. I see the correlation between climate and culture as an iceberg: What is beneath the surface of the water is much more expansive than what we see above. Climate is what we see above the water level, but culture (beneath the water) will re­quire us to do some very real and hard work.

Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

Establishing Balance

What will it take to accomplish this feat? In a word, balance—between the instrumental approach to HR, which emphasizes the pure business objectives, and a humanistic approach, which is more broadly focused on concern for people and the business.

It doesn’t matter how we arrived where we are today. Whether you are a boomer, millennial, a mem­ber of Gen Z, or any other designation, we’re all in this together, and our ability to connect and support each other is essential to our success. We need to remember that while our age might place us in a cer­tain demographic category, that category is not the be-all and end-all regarding how we see ourselves and how we identify and associate with others.

The common thinking is that millennials don’t save or aren’t loyal to an organization. The common think­ing is that baby boomers aren’t tech savvy or that they lack creativity. I say hogwash—all we need to do is identify one millennial who is an astute investor or has designs on staying with a firm or one baby boom­er who not only knows technology but was an early adopter, and the common thinking goes out the door.

If you are like me and many others, you certainly know people whose ability to relate and identify with other generations places them in a different realm than the one in which they were born.

Where we go from here depends on a few things. HR can lead the charge, but it cannot be solely re­sponsible for its ultimate success. Success always requires a team effort. Here are the areas we must all rally around:

  • Engaging others, networking, and emotional intelligence.
  • Moving from employee to intrapreneur (some­one who promotes innovative development and marketing).
  • Using your personal brand to influence others.

Emotional Intelligence

As we think about the future, we hear a lot of talk about augmented reality and artificial intelligence, but it is emotional intelligence that will drive our ability to develop effective networks and engage others. Without going into a technical dissertation, emotional

intelligence operates in two primary domains: self-competence and social competence. Self-competence means self-awareness and self-management. Social competence means social awareness and relationship management. Not only are these areas of self-discovery, but if we are able to master them, they will allow us to help move our team members from being employees to having a more vested interest in our operations.

Your Brand

I’ve spoken a great deal about personal branding and have written a book and workbook on the topic. Having a consistent personal brand is paramount to put people at ease and connect to us. A consistent personal brand will either bring people to you or push them away; no matter how good we believe we are, we all need advocates. Just because we are successful today doesn’t mean we will continue to be so tomor­row, especially if we lose sight of the most important aspect of our existence: the people we work with and through to accomplish our objectives.

Achieving the balance I spoke of earlier may well be the tipping point for HR and our organizations. If we are to continue to move forward and be the best, we must be that for each other and those we serve.

Read the article here.

JULIUS E. RHODES, SPHR, is founder and principal of the mpr group and author of BRAND: YOU Personal Branding for Success in Life and Business. He can be reached at jrhodes@mprgroup.info or 773.548.8037.

ON THE FRONTLINE: Be Who You Represent

By Cindy Campbell

I RECENTLY SAT DOWN FOR DINNER in a well-known chain restaurant during my travels. Arriving in town the night before a long week of training, I decided a decent meal would be a good idea. Now, I’ve dined at this national chain a number of times and I always leave with a very positive feeling about food quality and customer service, so it surprised me when the proverbial wheels came off the wagon on this particular visit.
It started out as it always has: I’m seated, menu provided, drink delivered, order placed. It did seem to take an exceptionally long time for my simple order to arrive, and when it did, I im­mediately noticed that it wasn’t right. Knowing that things like this happen, I politely pointed it out to the server. Without comment, he picked up the plate and took it back to the kitchen.

After 20 minutes, I asked if he thought it would be much longer. His response started with a heavy sigh and finished with, “I’ll check with the kitch­en.” An additional 25 minutes passed and at that point, I was done. The server stopped again at the table and told me he would recheck with the kitchen, to which I responded, “No. I’m done. I believe I’ve waited long enough. If you would give me my bill for the drink, I’d appreciate it.” Again, without comment, he briefly stepped away and came back with my bill.

As he set it down, another server ar­rived at the table with my order, which, frustratingly, was still not correct. The server silently stood looking at me, presumably waiting to see if I wanted to keep it this time around. “Sorry, still not what I ordered,” I said. He shrugged his shoulders and curtly responded, “Well, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not my fault. I gave the right order to the kitch­en.” In fairness to this young man, his observation could have been ­accurate—it’s entirely possible that he had entered the order correctly and kitchen staff had misread it twice. Here’s my point: The issue wasn’t in the mistake happening; it was in the server’s failure to under­stand his role as a representative of the brand.

Representing the Brand
We all work for someone. Whether you work for a private company, a public organization, or even if you’re self-­employed, in some way we all represent a larger entity. Let’s say for example that you work for a municipality as a parking ambassador. You may be the only city representative with whom members of the public have ever per­sonally interacted. At that very moment, you are the face of the city. Your atti­tude, demeanor, word choice, and body language help shape their opinion of you, your agency, and of the city—the entire city.

What about service limitations, agency policies, or even errors that are out of our control? What happens when the customer is unhappy and you’re left holding the proverbial bag on behalf of the city? Is it OK to sim­ply shrug your shoulders and declare that it’s not your fault? The public will not always be satisfied with the answers and options you are able to give. In that moment, you have the responsibility to recognize that you are the city, and even when you don’t agree with the options, you must always be who you represent. With your words and actions, you have the potential to shape perceptions and future decisions about you and of your greater agency, even if the circumstances are completely out of your control. Setting our personal viewpoints aside can be difficult. Because we represent a larger brand, we must consistently fight the urge to disassociate ourselves from regu­lations or circumstances with which we disagree. This type of professional disassociation serves no one well.

The Takeaway
That night at the restaurant, I left feel­ing frustrated. I know that I will never go back to that specific restaurant, and it will probably be a very long time before I set foot inside another of the franchise locations. I committed to telling others about my bad experience, knowing that many of them may adopt my viewpoint and avoid experiencing it personally.
One more notable thing to share about this experience. As I walked away that night, I was also thinking about situations early in my career where I’m certain I reflected poorly on my person­al brand and that of my employer. On many occasions throughout my career, I know I’ve made similar customer service blunders where I lost sight of my brand and who I represented. The lessons are there if we’re willing to rec­ognize and learn from them.

Read the article here.

CINDY CAMPBELL is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite training and professional development and can be reached at campbell@parking-mobility.org