Building Your Personal Brand


‘You don’t have a brand. You are a brand.’ Those were words came out during a conversation with a client recently and have stuck with me for a while. If you’re not sure what I mean about brand, I defined it here. Corporate brands aside, each one of us are crafting every day what are brands are what it stands for and all the other dynamics that go with the intangibles of who we are.

Your personal brandBrands are created by impressions that, over time, create a picture of who we are in the mind of our audience, no matter who they are. Everything we do, say, wear, drive, matters. Our personal brand is not only the professional head shot on a blog or social media profile, but the total effect of everything we put out there. The implications are huge.

Our words matter. Language defines us more than most anything else. Words can be angry, sad, encouraging, proper, kind, blessings, curses, gossip, difficult, hopeful. Our brand is being shaped by the types of words we use.

Our appearance matters. Are we put together, fashionable, unfashionable, country, cosmopolitan, plain, starched, earthy, trendy, hipster, formal, casual? While you might not want to be labeled, people have already labeled you. It’s just human nature. We need order and, therefore, we put people in categories. While you might not have thought much about your appearance, others have already put you in a category. Ask a trusted friend. They will tell you.

Our actions matter. No matter what we say and how we dress, what we do will ultimately seal in the minds of others how they see us. There’s a trend currently that says “my personal life has nothing to do with my professional performance.” I don’t think anyone really believes that. If you’re a scoundrel in your personal life, people will ultimately, and rightfully, think you’re up to no good in your professional life.

Your personal brand is the essence of who you are. Trying to project an imagine that’s not true for the sake of building a fictitiously better you is not only exhausting but ultimately futile. I have a better suggestion. Instead of working hard to create the image, we should strive to become the brand, the person, we are trying so hard to portray. Crazy idea coming from a marketing guy, huh? But in my experience, we can make any claims we want in a marketing campaign, but unless we deliver on the promises, the campaign will fail. So let’s spend time in making the “product” what we want it to be and the branding will become a natural outflow of the real deal.

What area of your personal brand you need to focus next?

  • Annonymous

    This was convicting to me. I need to focus more on my appearance. I have always thought people should not judge a book by its cover so I try hard not to be too put together. But I find you’re right and people are judging me before I have a chance to prove myself. 

    • Unfortunately that’s true. And if you get put in the wrong category, a category that’s not who you are, then you might never get the chance to show them your true self.

    • I’m with you, annonymous! I wish people wouldn’t focus on the cover so much. I think my words and actions are pretty consistent with my values, but after a frank discussion with my family, I believe my appearance is definitely not. They say I have an informal approach to my dress that can communicate at times that I don’t care about how I look or who I am. If someone looked in a crowd of people, they would never guess that I was a pastor/leader. Perhaps it’s time to trade in the shorts and T-shirts for some polos and slacks. Ouch!

  • I love it.  I just FB my friends to ask them if I was a brand, what would be my slogan.  I’m curious what kinds of replies I get.  Anywhere from elementy friends (before I was saved) and my church family.  Of course then there are my ‘FANS’ and what they think. 
    Great blog!

  • I like to think of it as building your character to build your reputation. So often, we try to work on our reputation, getting people to see us in a certain light, but if you aren’t living up to what you’re projecting, eventually people will notice, and will stop trusting you. 

    I would rather build my brand, build my character and let that speak for my reputation.

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