Umair Haque, the director of the Havas Media Labs and a blogger for Harvard Business Review says that the next global economy isn’t just about stuff, it’s about human lives. Drawing from the results of the second annual Meaningful Brands Index, Haque believes that failure by organisations to matter in human terms is what leads people to mistrust companies. To win people’s loyalty, brands need to be seen as meaningful.

If people see that you care about others, rather than simply trying to make a name for yourself, they are more likely to buy into your personal brand and to want to work alongside you or invest in your products and services.

Haque seems to be making the point that brands that stand out today are those that tangibly improve people’s lives, thus achieving meaningfulness. This could be by through charity work or by being kinder to the environment. It might mean a business is prepared to make lower profit margins because it sources products ethically.

I believe that the same is true for personal brands: even if you build a personal brand that stands out from the crowd, people need to feel that you stand for something important that makes a difference in this world, or they simply won’t trust you with their loyalty.

If people see that you care about others, rather than simply trying to make a name for yourself, they are more likely to buy into your personal brand and to want to work alongside you or invest in your products and services.

My advice to clients looking to develop sustainable personal brands is this: don’t be so focused on pursuing your career goals that you forget about the people your life touches along the way. What sort of legacy so you want to leave behind? If you don’t really care, don’t pretend you do. People can spot a fake, but they are attracted to authentic personal brands.

Focus on the legacy you want to leave. As you build towards it, so you will build your personal brand in a way that is meaningful.

About Donna Rachelson

Donna is a branding and marketing specialist. Her focus is on branding and marketing people and teams, as well as assisting entrepreneurial businesses from a marketing perspective. Donna is founder of Branding & Marketing YOU, which offers training, coaching and outsourced marketing services. She is also the author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book. Her second book, Branding & Marketing for Teams, will be released this year. The motto that drives her is, “Make a marketing difference every day”.

For more information, visit www.brandingandmarketingyou.com.