What really is personal image and brand?
I recently had the opportunity to gain valuable insight into personal image and brand. During the holidays I heard comments about a woman who had been admitted to a health facility. Her health had continued to decline as a result of cancer. As a valiant solider, she fought the disease, her opponent’s force returned again and again.
As people came to see her wishing her improved health, I heard them talk about her as they left the room. The comments seemed to always begin with the fact she had a smile for everyone—no matter who they were or what position they held in life, her determination, her fashionable appearance and her caring personality. I began to think about these statements, and they cannot be made about everyone.
There are people who only offer their smile and attention to certain titles and positions, or to those perceived to be of importance. This woman was different. I observed doctors, nurses, friends; those who cleaned the room and maintained the facility…all treated equally…all received her smile. Some said she was always like that even when she was in extreme pain.
People commented about her determination, not only to fight cancer but in everything she did. Playing the game of golf was brought up by many people with whom she played. Even her golf pro said she had been one of his favorite students.
And then there were the comments about her dress. She had everything to match from shoes, socks, sweaters, earrings, rings and watches—she was a fashion statement. Someone said she had the knack of “focused eyes of an eagle” when it came to picking up a fashion item and knowing immediately that it would match something in her wardrobe. Even as she lay in bed dying, she made sure she had different colorful sweater over her patient night gown. People would leave her room saying, “she still is sporting her fashionable side”.
The other comment was her caring personality. It was described as “dedicated caring”. When she asked if she could help someone, she really meant it. For many, when an offer is made to help the hope is that it will not be accepted. Not for this woman. She would follow through with a telephone call or visit to make sure there was not something she could do.
As I reflected on the consistency of the comments made about her, THIS was her personal image and brand. She had built it over a lifetime of eighty years. There are many components of personal brand but in the end, it is not about titles nor material objects, it is about behaviors and personal actions.
As her life came to an end, this was an individual who truly had a solid, strong brand. It was my honor to have known her and had her in my life. You see, this woman was my Mother who passed away January 8, 2009.
I hope you will think about your personal image and brand and how it will be revealed during your lifetime.
I have been posting this blog each year at the first of February as her birthday was later this month. I hope you thought about words and the message and will think about your own image.
Until next month,