The other day, while out for a jog, I noticed a brown UPS delivery truck. And the sight of it made me happy. This random little brown truck made me smile.
To be clear, I don’t have a thing for the color brown, or trucks or deliverymen in general. When I questioned my reaction, I realized I have just always preferred UPS. The brown color and that logo have always inspired trust. Without really thinking about it, it is my go-to place when I need to ship something.
This is not because I have carefully researched the lowest shipping prices or which service is more efficient. I have no idea how UPS stacks up when comparing these things to their competitors. My affinity for the brown truck goes back to my experience with one person that worked there.
Back in the day, I ran a mailroom that received and sent a high volume of packages. We had twice daily visits from most major shipping companies. The Fed Ex guy would stop in, dump the packages on our counter and ask for my signature. He was a pleasant enough guy, but we never really had a conversation.
Tim, the UPS guy, always stopped to ask how things were going. He always had a contagious positive attitude. He loaded packages directly on to our delivery cart, saving our staff time and the work of moving around heavy, large and bulky boxes – without ever being asked to do so. When I had complicated customs forms to fill out for international shipments, he told me which parts I could skip to save time.
Even though he was busy and on a strict timeline, he would pause to chat with all the staff. He got to know us all personally. Sometimes he bent rules to make things easier for us to meet our constituents’ needs.
Tim was friendly, likable and beyond helpful. I have no idea what he’s doing now, but I hope UPS gave that guy a raise because his actions single-handedly cultivated my brand loyalty. When I see that brown truck, I immediately and, up until this point, unconsciously, associate it with friendliness, helpfulness and easy, quick solutions – probably exactly what UPS wants.
That’s the goal with your personal brand. Go above and beyond and be honest, likable, positive and friendly. Yes, you absolutely have to know your stuff but you also have to know how to deliver it in a way that makes it so easy, so pleasant for those that seek your help that you make the idea of seeking out someone else’s expertise within your niche unthinkable. It also makes you predictably reliable – your contacts and customers know exactly what to expect from you and they already assume they will like it. Be the Tim-the-UPS-guy for your personal brand.
Kelly is a career advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she assists undergraduate business students with all aspects of their career development. Connect with Kelly on Twitter, her blog, LinkedIn or BrazenCareerist.