How to enhance your reputation and polish your image

There is nothing egomaniacal or inappropriate about letting others know what you do. This applies to everyone from a newbie manager to an entrenched CEO. I’m not suggesting shameless self-promotion or gratuitous boast-and-brag assertions about yourself that only a mother would care about, and even that’s iffy.

Instead, I’m recommending substantive communications, which are the cornerstones of branding, marketing, and getting a story out so others can recognize and appreciate a product, service, and/or person. 

If, however, the message doesn’t reach the targeted audience, it’s tantamount to flirting in the dark with the lights off; the message won’t be seen.

Letting others, including customers, associates and higher-ups, know something of interest or value can launch or perpetuate the image, taking it to new heights. Politicians and lobbyists do this often, although their messages might be dubious. Eventually, however, as others repeat what they heard or read, the message sinks in and spreads. Then, people associate the content of the communication with the person. Remember these phrases? “Read my lips, no new taxes.”  “I will build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it.”  “Trust but verify.” These slogans were about creating a buzz. (Google those if you don’t know who first introduced them to promote their positions).

The trick is getting your message out about yourself without coming off as a braggart, which is at the core of building your brand. The most effective way is to get others talking about you and your accomplishments. The easiest way to do that is to produce remarkable results. By doing this, you’ll never have to say a word about yourself because others will carry the message forward. 

Another more subtle method is telling associates something and asking them not to repeat it. It’s close to certain that your request won’t be honored because those who retell hush-hush stories want colleagues to think they know something that others don’t. This is a bit cynical, but it is an effective technique. Just make sure that everything said is true and interesting. It might be something that you or your team have accomplished before it’s known to the masses, even bosses. Use an anecdotal story about what you did that was unconventional and hit pay dirt. It is best when something is out of the ordinary that will benefit others, be admired, and also remembered.

No matter what creative technique is used the message has to be something that generates attention, interest and appreciation (a little envy can’t hurt either). This is akin to the methods of selling everything from detergents to diamonds. 

Much like the shoemaker’s children who have no shoes, most managers including marketing and executives fall short when it comes to getting their own story out and effectively framing and accentuating their successes.

Many potential movers and shakers are not known as go-to experts because their abilities stay a secret beyond those who know them well. It is usually better when others, especially peers, say good things about you. Third-party endorsements underscore your credibility and provide a brighter glow to your image rather than tooting your own horn to convey what you’ve accomplished. It all starts with effective messaging. But before starting, you must first believe in yourself.

Serving on a number of boards, Michael is a frequent national speaker, and author of the business books “The Benevolent Dictator” and ”Tips from the Top.” 

Michael Feuer

Founder and CEO