I am convinced that one of the ingredients for
success in the horse business is understanding and
building upon the characteristics that make your
personal brand attractive to your prospects
and customers. The characteristics that make you,
YOU, are the foundation of your personal brand. The
combination of characteristics, not any single
characteristic, make the essence of YOU as a person
and professional horseman.
Here is a list of characteristics, random in order, that
are descriptors of personal brand:
Thoughtful, compassionate, creative, honest, caring,
independent, knowledgeable, leadership, loyal,
confident, exciting, decisive, cooperative, goal
oriented, quiet, authentic respectful, caring,
innovative, bold, effective, quiet, nurturing, logical,
methodical, flexible, responsible, inspiring, motivating,
action, risk taker, wise, visionary, detailed,
Some or none of these may be accurate descriptors
of your brand. It’s your job to determine what your
brand characteristics are. You can begin by asking
your customers directly what they
consider your strengths to be. You can ask them
in conversation or by e-mail or snail mail.
Trust me, they won’t be annoyed that you asked and
will be appreciative that you consider their opinions
important. You will begin to hear similar themes
developing in the responses. You may be surprised
at what your hear, too. Our self image is often not
entirely in line with the image seen by others.
In an article written for “Fast Company”
business guru Tom Peters wrote this advice about
discovering your personal brand, “What have I
accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about?" If
you're going to be a brand, you've got to become
relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value,
that you're proud of, and most important, that you
can shamelessly take credit for. When you've done
that, sit down and ask yourself one more question to
define your brand: "What do I want to be famous
That's right -- famous for!"
Collect the characteristics and begin constructing in
writing what your personal brand is all about. It will
take more than one try to get it right, but the payoff
is the fact that you will be able to capitalize on your
brand characterstics and begin to build a business
that is clearly defined, consistent and attractive to
customers. Customers love consistency in
because knowing what to expect from a
work or from a riding instructor’s lesson program or
from a breeder’s foals is peace of mind.
Corporate brands are easy to identify. I know what
to expect at Starbucks, I’m certain about the
inventory available at Target and I have a clear
image of the menu at Pizza Hut.
Personal brands can be more inconsistent at times
than corporate brands, but many are well defined.
Think of Madonna, Donald Trump or Bill Clinton.
Controversial individuals at times, but well defined as
personal brands. In the equine world, think of
John Lyons, George Morris and Bob Baffert.
Unique horsemen, in different disciplines, with strong
Successful professional horsemen will become
more than look alikes of John Lyons, George
Morris or Bob Baffert. They will be their own personal
brand. The call for personal branding is loud and
clear. Are you ever happy with look-alike: Adidas
running shoes, Rolex watches or GPA helmets? Of
course not, your preference is the real thing.
Customers prefer the brand over the generic
version. Here is a hot idea: Get Branded!
If you need some help developing your brand,
talk. I can get you started. Why? My clients tell me
one of my brand traits is Inspiration.