Your Character is Your Brand

Your Character is Your Brand

This September will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I remember it vividly. I was at the gym and saw on CNN the jet strike the first tower. I rushed home. The world seemed to go numb. Devastated by the shock of it all, in an instant the world as we knew it completely changed.  

Until that point businesses were humming along. Then, life as we knew it changed. 

The COVID Pandemic and the 2008 housing crisis had similar earth-shaking effects. These are reminders that many of the bigger things in life and business are out of our control. 

So, what is the remedy? How do we prepare for the unforeseeable? 

When we’re faced with adversity and our backs are up against the wall, we’re usually left with little choice to dig deep into our principles, values, and beliefs. 

We double-down on our essentials and non-negotiables. When our resolve is tested, and there’s a grace that shows up that we didn’t know is there.  

Every leader, every team, every brand will face adversity. It may take the form of a personal crisis. It may be an event that hits your industry alone. Or it may be something that only effects your company, team, or yourself.  

When you’re faced with such adversity and you tap into the power that your driving principles hold, you can remind yourself of a power that is always there for you. It’s called character.

And if it’s so powerful during a crisis, why aren’t you tapping into it every day?

Maybe you are. It’s time to put these powers into action, day in and day out. It’s time to build character.

Here’s one of the things that separate me from most brand strategists. I believe that brand is character and character is brand.

Character is rooted in the Greek charassein, meaning “to sharpen, cut in furrows, or engrave.” This word gave the Greeks charaktēr, a noun meaning “mark, distinctive quality.” At its core, character is the indelible mark that is chiseled into a lasting surface formed by deeply instilled drivers. 

Your character acts as a magnetic beacon to those who see, experience and are drawn in by your character qualities.

Character acts as a repellent, too. Those with contrasting moral compasses will be repelled by your character. Think about all the customers who shifted away from brands that have been exposed by integrity issues or scandal.

Character is how you treat someone when they are not ready to give you anything. This is what a customer is before they become a customer. It’s what a friend is before they’re a friend.

A brand is the central organizing and operating system of the business. It is the center-point that defines how you innovate, how you work together, how you treat the people inside and outside your organization. Your brand character defines how you see and interact with the world.

The beautiful thing about knowing and activating your clarified beliefs is that they always there for you—during tough times and good times. 

When your purpose, vision, mission, promise, and values are known and lived, you and your team work with the same character that shows up day in and day out.

Some brand character questions to consider… 

  • Can you tell others, inside and outside your company, about what you stand for in a way they care retell it?
  • When your company faces adversity, do you know what values and principles you stand on, in order to rise to the occasion? 
  • When your business transitions out of crisis how can you build on the character that got you through?
  • What is that you aspire to be known for, in good times and in challenging times? 
  • Are you living up to your fullest potential as a leader, culture, and company through you character? 

Your character is the magnetic pull that attracts aligned people to your business, work, and life.

Your goal is business shouldn’t be to manipulate the public into buying your products or services. It’s to amplify your branded character to attract those who value what you value. 

Do this, during good times and bad, and you’ll have a consistent, reliable, and trusted brand.


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