The following is the fourth in the series "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.
Brand managers are daily decision makers in disguise. That's because marketing requires a decision at every turn -- from pricing to distribution to packaging to product taste tests to social media activity. And the same is true for your personal brand.
In this series on personal branding, we've already made a few of these decisions including how to define your personal brand and how to position and describe it on demand. These are the exact tools big brand marketers use to guide their decisions. When faced with a choice, they benchmark it against their brand's goals, definition and positioning.
The key is for you to do the same in your life, both personally and professionally. When it comes to marketing your personal brand, actions speak louder than words. The choices you make will undoubtedly affect your personal and professional success and happiness. Every move you make can either enhance or damage your brand, so it's important to be consistent when making decisions over time. These decisions ultimately form who you are as a brand and how others perceive you.
Take Meryl Streep, the country's most decorated actress whose personal brand is the result of consistently well-made decisions over the course of her career. Every role she accepts is a decision based on how she defines herself and what she wants out of life, enhancing her brand and our perception of it. I'm sure the same is true in her personal life too.
People with really successful personal brands are incredibly consistent over time and at each crossroad. Paying attention to how they make their decisions can help inform your own. George Clooney or Lady Gaga, for example, stay true to who they are and how they portray themselves. But you should also pay attention to the brands that stray off strategy and get themselves in trouble with bad decisions. We've seen a lot of those bad choices in Hollywood and can learn a lot from them too.
Collectively, the choices you make along the way in life help to either reinforce or detract from your brand. They attract others or keep them away. So be purposeful with everything you do.
If you happen to not like the choices you are making in life, I would argue you are allowing outside influences to sway your decisions and not staying true to your brand. You need to either make new choices or perhaps it's time for a brand makeover. It's never too late for one of those.
Your brand positioning should guide how you manage your personal brand and how you make decisions. If you hold your positioning up each and every time, you are much more likely to do the right thing for your brand. And when you do what's right for your brand, you're doing what's right for your life.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Jim Joseph is the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the author of three books, including the latest, The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About 2013). Joseph also teaches marketing at New York University and blogs at JimJosephExp.com.