Everything we do and say is our brand. It’s really that simple.

Think about it. We all have a personal brand in our family, in our office, with our clients and with the people we run into, see and interact with daily. Everyone is always sizing you up, determining their opinion of you based on the image and brand you give off.

If you treat a server at a restaurant poorly, that is your brand — not only to the server but all the people you’re with. If you do something kind for someone, that is your brand.

We may not think about it much, but we have complete control of our brand and how we put it out into the world. That impacts our business, our employees, our shareholders, our vendors and basically everyone our company brand touches.

Many times we think about branding as something only McDonald’s or other giant companies do. This perception that it’s expensive or just for the conglomerates is completely wrong, especially in the age of social media. A brand can be created overnight. We see it all the time online.

Think about YOUR brand and how you control it with these 10 easy and inexpensive tips.

  1. Say Hello: Slow down and greet people. Put down your iPhone, look them in the eye and take time to connect and say, “hello, how are you?” Then, take the time to listen. A 15-second conversation can go a long way.
  2. Put the Phone Down: Don’t have your phone out at meetings. I could list some studies to back this up, but it’s just not good business. Be present and focus your attention on the people and content of the meeting.
  3. Don’t Hide Behind Your Email: Pick up the phone and call someone instead of emailing something that you know will get lost in translation.
  4. Read It Over: Review your emails several times before pressing “send.” Oftentimes we have spelling errors, don’t get our meaning across and/or don’t realize how our tone sounds. Take the extra time to make sure you’re getting your message through effectively.
  5. Connect with Everyone: And I do mean everyone — at the least those in your department and on your floor. A quick hello, “how was your weekend?” and “hey, you did a great job on that project,” works wonders. Fun and fast conversations go a long way.
  6. Take Action: If you say you want change or promise something is going to happen, do it. If your people don’t see you taking action, your brand goes down the toilet. Talk in measurables and let people know your timelines and deadlines.
  7. Change Your Greeting: If your voicemail doesn’t make people want to talk to you, change it today. So many people have boring greetings. Put a smile and some oomph into your voicemail and make people happy they called you.
  8. Leave an Impression: The same goes for when you are leaving voicemails. Be concise and full of energy. They have so many people to call back – be so engaging that you go to the top of their list.
  9. Leverage Yourself: Have a campaign to brand yourself and your company. Provide solid content so people know what you stand for and that they can depend on you to offer a perspective on how to think about a topic or event. Give them opinions and talking points so they become more effective with their peers, clients, colleagues and friends.
  10. Be Consistent: Whatever you do, do it daily, do it often and do it consistently. Those who are consistent and authentic have more fun and grow their brand quickly and effectively.

Think of it this way: Branding is what people say about you when you leave the room. What do you want your clients, your colleagues, your employees and your friends to say about YOU?

Happy branding!

Think Big!