Brand, image and reputations

The Islander – September 2022

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It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it!


We normally think of a ‘brand’ as something which only relates to business, but today almost everyone has a personal brand. It’s often not something we have consciously developed, but with social media we all leave a digital trail which is out there and can be viewed by all - not just friends and family, but also future employers, many will even google you before they invite you for an interview.

The power of a brand is immense. For example, what impressions do you have when you hear the following company names mentioned: MacDonald’s, Primark, Rolex, Rolls Royce suggest to you?

A brand is the impression in people’s minds, whether real or imagined, of the qualities and shortcomings of a person, yacht or business. It is developed over time through the consistency of the messages being received. So, in short, it is other people’s judgements about you, not necessarily having any hard evidence!

As Jeff Bezos says “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. And you probably want them to be saying good things about you!”

Our brand or reputation precedes us. Before we have even spoken, people will have made judgements based upon what they have already learnt about us. This can come from our CV, social media, other people’s comments, the impression we make as we walk into a room, even how we greet someone, answer the phone or shake hands.

In order to manage your brand, you first need to be able to articulate it – what do you want people to say about you when you are not in the room? Write down the words that best describe you, your personality and how you make others feel.

Our personal brand is made up of 3 elements:-

  • The look e.g. scruffy, stylish, organised, casual
  • The sound e.g. serious, animated, immature, fun
  • The feel e.g. easy-going, decisive, authentic, insensitive

Put together a short sentence which best describes your brand or a three-word descriptor (mine is “efficient, enthusiastic, educator”). Once you are clear about your brand, ensure that everything from social media to suppliers, crew agents to bosses experience it.

By the same token what does the brand of your yacht say about you? And just as importantly, what impact do you have on the brand and image of your yacht and place of work?

Again consistency is key. Similar to a marriage, there are some couples who are solid in the image they portray to the outside world, never having a bad word to say about each other. Others perhaps reveal too much of what goes on behind the scenes, putting each other down in public and damaging both reputations. You and your yacht are no different to these couples. If you want the brand and reputation of your yacht to help you achieve the next career move, not only do you need to look out for your own brand, you also need to manage and nurture the brand and reputation of your yacht.

Top Tips

Ask for feedback – someone else’s perception is also their reality, and it’s good to know that you are presenting the brand you want!

Be consistent in the brand and image you portray, including social media.

Your behaviour on and off the yacht will impact on both your own brand and that of the yacht.

When wearing yacht branded clothing, be aware of who can see and overhear you!

Be proud of where you work. If there are issues, deal with them behind closed doors.

A final thought from Warren Buffett:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Impact Crew specialises in developing Superyacht leaders, crew and teams, whether through individualised coaching or on-board workshops. Give Impact Crew a call and explore the many different ways we can support you as you grow in your role.