Young Professional Perspective: House of Cards & Personal Brand
Wednesday, March 26, 2014on
Those that have watched Netflix’s hit show House of Cards can understand why the show’s title is perfect. The lead character, Frank Underwood, plays puppet-master by manipulating powerful people with indifference to breaking U.S. law or ethical codes. The world can’t stop watching because they want to see when Frank’s brash approach will cause his House of Cards to come tumbling down. In 2010, the world watched as a similar storyline unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico. The world’s 6th largest corporation, British Petroleum (BP), made massive errors in judgment resulting in an environmental disaster that released millions of barrels of oil into U.S waters. The public outrage was tremendous. In one brief moment, BP’s brand and the billions of dollars spent to build it appeared to collapse like a House of Cards. Four years after the incident, BP’s stock price sits at ~80% of its peak value prior to the oil spill. They survived the public backlash. Now, BP is rarely mentioned in the media or in personal conversations. When is the last time you heard someone say they would not fill-up at the BP station? Their brand has endured. As Young Professionals what can we learn from this and apply in our lives? Build your brand to endure. Build a personal brand that never takes a knockout blow. Don’t set yourself up to be a Frank Underwood and fall like a House of Cards. Here are several practical tips to help you build your brand. 1) Control and purposefully build your brand. Are you perpetually late? Does your work constantly have errors requiring someone else to review? Do your friends call you and trust you to pick up their kids? Do your coworkers like you? What about your family? Whether you intend to or not, you are constantly oozing your own brand shaping people’s perceptions of you. You need to recognize the fact that you have a personal brand, and you should proactively shape and control it. Be likeable, be early, be confident, be accurate, and find ways to make everyone’s life easier. People remember that. Do this in every conversation, every action, every day. Bonus points: Identify key relationships that matter the most to you and be sure to enhance them each day. 2) Make your brand so good that people have to share it. First, you have to build trust and likeability. Prove it to people by living your brand every day. Help others before yourself and be genuine. When people want to be around you and you do amazing work, they will tell people. The old adage “It is not what you know… it is who is know” is wrong. It is not who you know… it is who knows you. When this happens, you have created brand ambassadors, and that is awesome and can go a long way! The old adage “It is not what you know…it is who you know” is wrong. It is not who you know… it is who knows you. 3) Never, ever compromise your brand. Who you are, the image you want to project, the values you hold dear… Never compromise them. Never violate your brand. Always do things that reinforce that brand. Do not do things that would take away from your brand. It is that simple! Curious to how your personal brand stacks up? Look around at your personal and professional circles. What is their brand? That should give you a good idea of yours. About Paul is the Upstate Market Executive for Sun Solutions, the largest privately held printer and mailer headquartered in South Carolina. Paul enjoys his family, sports, and real estate. Paul is currently serving on PULSE’s Marketing and Connects Committees.