I’m often asked how to tangibly measure personal brand equity and my answer is quite simple…The value of a personal brand is directly proportionate to its ability to create and wield influence. When it comes to the subject of personal branding much has been written about authenticity, transparency, marketability, thought leadership, etc., but it is the ability to leverage the sum of these individual brand components for influence that determines the true strength of a personal brand. Put simply, a personal brand that cannot open doors, or influence actions and decisions, is not much of a personal brand.

When I refer to influence I’m not talking about manipulation, cheap marketing gimmicks, or other forms of skulduggery, as ill-gotten gains will always be exposed for what they are, and will never be worth the compromises that were made in order to achieve them. Not only is true influence much easier to acquire, but it is also sustainable. Put simply, true influence is nothing more than leveraging your personal brand to work with and through others to achieve a stated objective while staying true to your core values and maintaining your integrity.

The following concepts comprise the three pillars of influence, which if properly understood and implemented can help anyone become more efficient, productive, secure and successful:

1. Influence is built upon making others successful
: This is often times referred to as the law of reciprocity. The theory is that if you invest yourself in making someone else successful then they in turn will likely be predisposed to helping you become successful. While this principle will not always pan out, in my experience it has held true in well over 90% of my interactions over the years. Those who make astute investments into people and relationships will benefit tremendously by doing so.

2. Likability
: People do business with people they like and avoid doing business with people they don’t like it’s just that simple. Are you approachable, positive, affable, trustworthy, a person of character and integrity or are you someone who is standoffish, pessimistic and generally not to be trusted? Those the fall into the camp of the former as opposed to the latter will find themselves having more influence and success.

3. Value and scarcity drive influence
: Understanding the value of your position, brand, authority, resources, access to people or knowledge and any number of other items as it relates to fulfilling the needs and desires of others creates influence. To the extent that anything under your direct or indirect control is scarce or proprietary your ability to influence will increase significantly.

Bottom line Don’t manipulate for personal gain, rather facilitate for mutual benefit. Take a sincere interest in the success of others, work on your likability factor, have access to things of value or scarcity, and as your influence with others increases so will the value of your personal brand. Lastly, I would ask that you consider using your influence to assist those who have little influence. If you don’t incorporate this last thought into your world, you’ll be missing one of the greatest rewards life has to offer…serving via influence.