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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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5 A consistent message

Big brands know that delivering a consistent brand is crucial in winning the trust of customers, so they present the same message over and over again. If customers know and trust the brand, they are more likely to demonstrate brand loyalty and become effective brand ambassadors.

In the centre of a pile of tools is a spanner with the word ‘consistency’ written on it.
Figure 7 Consistency is an important tool

William Arruda (2016) uses Starbucks as an example:

What would you think if you walked into a Starbucks and the barista got your triple tall, half caf, iced, non-fat latte wrong? You’d probably say to yourself, “First-world problem,” not fret too much and go about your day. What if you went to a different location the next day, and your order was mishandled once again? Part of the brand promise of Starbucks is that you’ll receive a customized beverage that perfectly suits your palate and your diet, no matter how complex the details or your order are. How many times would you be willing to experience inconsistency before you switched to a different caffeine dealer?

A Starbucks cup stands next to a pile of coffee beans
Figure 8 Starbucks coffee

Arruda goes on to make the point that brand consistency doesn’t mean you can’t change anything about what you do. The Virgin brand is a good example of that. The history of the organisation incorporates:

  • 1960s − a student magazine
  • 1970s − record stores and a record label
  • 1980s − video games, an airline, holidays, balloon flights and hotels
  • 1990s − a radio station and cinemas
  • 2000s − trains and a mobile phone network
  • 2010s − space travel and banking!
The red tail of a Virgin plane against a blue sky with white clouds
Figure 9 Virgin airline

What remains consistent across the Virgin empire is its brand values −

‘providing heartfelt service, being delightfully surprising, red hot, and straight up while maintaining an insatiable curiosity and creating smart disruption,’

and its purpose – ‘changing business for good’ (Virgin, 2018).

Activity 6 Consistent messages

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Think back to Activity 3 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] in Week 1 when you asked three people to describe you in three words.

List the words they used in the box below:

Did each of them use the same or similar words when describing you, or were they different?

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If they used similar words, that would indicate that your messages about your brand are consistent. What you need to consider next is whether they are the right words to reflect the brand you want to convey. You’ll consider the key elements of your personal brand in Week 4.

If they used different words, was that because they know you in different contexts? Many of us have a different persona in the workplace to the ‘real’ one that we show to our friends and family. Is there something you could do to make those personas more aligned?

Being consistent is equally important in what you say and what you do, and the two should be closely aligned. When people start to trust you, your personal brand is working and new career opportunities will start to arise.