Everyone Has A Personal Brand
June 18, 2009
Wanted to share a personal experience that has a great deal to do with the concept of “personal branding,” but has nothing to do with Information Security.
Here is some back-story. In December 2007, we bought a fifteen year old home. The previous home owner had neglected most of the maintenance for the past year. One item included in the sale was a 12 year old “hot tub” that is embedded into an outdoor deck. Needless to say, when we first attempted to turn on the hot tub, it did not work. I called the local spa company and they agreed to send a repairman.
It is now about 2 hours past the time that he was supposed to arrive, and a truck comes into my driveway. Out steps a sixty year old man named Jerry. It was clear from the greeting that he gave me, that arriving two hours late did not bother Jerry. He offered no apologies for his tardiness as we walked to the backyard. As we walked, I looked at Jerry’s wrist, as I expected, he did not wear a watch.
Soon after arriving at the hot tub, it did not take long for Jerry to convince me that he was the right man for the job!
He quickly deduced the exact model of the hot tub and told me about the manufacturer’s history of product development. He then told me that when my model came out, he regularly spoke with the lead engineer at corporate, who helped him troubleshoot and resolve specific issues with the hot tubs. Jerry even told me that he diagnosed some problems that they were unaware of, and that corporate often called him and asked him for advice.
It was no time before Jerry had his “a ha” moment. With the combination of a little elbow grease, the reattachment of some wires, and a wave of his magic elecrtical wand – the tub was working again.
I offered Jerry a cold drink and he happily accepted. I told him how impressed I was with his knowledge and efficiency. He gave me some history regarding his personal backgrund. He was a licensed electrician, who became involved fixing hot tubs by accident. He told me that he liked the work because, as he stated, “there are no real emergencies that involve a hot tub.” It was clear to me that Jerry earned a living to satisfy his lifestyle. He liked making his own hours. He was not interested in promotions or additional responsibility. He enjoyed his work.
Jerry was not going to be managed by anyone, and he did not want the headaches of running his own business. He took tremendous pride in his work product and his ability to solve the customer’s problem. You could tell he liked to be needed, and have people depend on him. He had no worries regarding his future, he knew that there would always be hot tubs to fix.
All of these items defined Jerry’s personal brand. The characteristics that comprised his skill set included deep knowledge and expertise, a commitment to customer service, and professional pride. If Jerry was also punctual, he would clearly have his place in the “Hall of Fame.”
Recently, we had another hot tub issue. I called the store, and asked for Jerry, and only Jerry. They told me that it would take a week longer and that Jerry would be by on Sunday morning. I said, “No problem.”
His car pulled up this Sunday at 3:00PM in the afternoon.
Just as I expected.