Graduations season brings many speeches. Most will focus on the fact that graduates have their whole life ahead of them and can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, with hard work and dedication.
I had the pleasure of attending my nephew’s high school graduation and while many speeches touched on the expected subject matter, the speech that I found most inspiring was the one delivered by my nephew’s school superintendent, who took a slightly different tact in his speech and focused on the student’s brand. He stressed that everything they do, say, and post on the internet, affects their personal brand.
“Like it or not, we live in a world fueled by judgement and first impressions. This is why your e-mail address on job applications needs to suggest that you can be taken seriously. You will also be judged by the parts of your life you share online. Think for a moment about every social media post, comment, picture and video you have ever uploaded. If you want doors open for you instead of closed, protect your brand.”
He challenged the students to spend as much time working on their brand as they do on homework and class studies. It was a powerful speech that resonated with the graduates and many in the audience.
How does the message of being ever-vigilant about your brand resonate with you personally? As a manager, how are you presenting yourself to your employees? Leaders inspire trust in their employees by visibly holding themselves to high standards and building a collaborative environment that encourages personal investment. Employees who feel engaged at work and trust their managers are likely to stay. Managers who lead by example and strive for open and honest communication with their team are the ones employees want to work for.
How does the message of being ever vigilant about your brand resonate with your club? What is your club doing to ensure member satisfaction remains at an all-time high? Your club’s brand is known because of your company culture. All the strategy in the world cannot overcome a poor company culture. Are you investing in training for your employees to ensure that they are consistently delivering the highest level of service to your members and their guests? Are you keeping an eye on industry trends to offer increased member satisfaction?
Remember, your club’s brand exists regardless of whether you actively manage the culture or not. Doing nothing doesn’t make a poor culture or negative brand identifiers go away. Have you ever Googled yourself or your club? Just because you may not be actively engaging on social media platforms or on the Internet doesn’t mean your brand isn’t out there. You may be surprised what you find.
Many times, at RCS, a club asks us for guidance on brand management and marketing consulting and when asked what a club’s Internet presence is, we are given the answer “we are not on the Internet” or “we don’t have social media accounts”. These same clubs are often surprised by what we deliver after conducting a media scan and what we were able to discover about the club on the Internet. Just because you aren’t actively putting a message out online, doesn’t mean that your club isn’t being talked about. It’s important to at least monitor and address what is being said about your club—doing nothing doesn’t make what is already out there go away - rather, it implies that you have given up the ability to control the message.
How will you challenge yourself and your team to maintain both a strong individual brand as well as a club brand and strong company culture?