People don’t merely form first impressions; they become attached to them. Social scientists have given this phenomenon a name: the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). It is a term that gives credence to the cliché, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and stems from the fact that people are complex and, to simplify this complexity, have a tendency to pigeonhole one another into specific categories after only the briefest of interactions.
For example, someone who observes an athlete signing autographs on one occasion will probably assume the athlete is a nice person. In reality, there are many other parts to that athlete’s personality, but to make life simpler, we would conclude that he or she is a nice person.
This type of internal categorization has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, if you really “wow” enough people with your first impression, you can coast on the momentum of that powerful first impression for a long, long time. But the principle of FAE can also prove to be fatal. Suppose someone catches you on a bad day. If you’re not careful, your personal brand could be severely marred.
How many actors and athletes have been branded as arrogant because they preferred not to sign an autograph in a restaurant while eating with their family? It’s an unavoidable reality that we make snap judgments about others based on just a fraction of perceived information.
Building a great personal brand ensures you make the principle of FAE work for you, rather than against you.
Repeat After Me — Power Isn’t a Dirty Word!
Creating brand you means coming to terms with power — your power! It’s a word that’s so misunderstood and, as a result, is too often misused. Power has nothing to do with physical strength, tyranny, or who has the biggest office. I’m talking about the power of Influence!
Which brings us to the Vision Value Passion (VVP) connection; those things you have already established as the building blocks of your brand and the essence of your personal brand statement. They will contribute greatly to the power of your reputation and make you a highly influential and must-add follow. On Twitter, this power is measured, not only by the number of followers you have, but also by the amplification level of your tweets through retweets and acknowledgements.