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The Brand Called You

| November 10, 2009

by Jim Bruce

Over the past several years, I’ve seen a number of articles about personal branding.  My favorite is a piece Tom Peters wrote some two years ago – “The Brand Called You – that appeared in FastCompany on December 18, 2007.  Peters’ piece is this week’s Tuesday Reading.

Peters begins by noting that today almost everything is branded, including almost everything you are wearing as well as your university and some of its more significant constituent parts.  He argues that we need to understand the concept of branding, particularly as it relates to your own personal brand, “You.”  The point is that you have a brand whether or not you make that brand work in your behalf.

So, what about the brand, You?  Peters argues that thinking of yourself as a brand leads you to think about being visible, to realize that everything matters, and to understand that style and substance really matter.

To begin thinking about yourself as a brand, you might ask questions such as:

– What is it that makes my product or service distinctive?  EXERCISE:  Write it out now – 15 or fewer words.  Read and revise often.

– What feature or benefits does “You” offer?  E.g.,

    – Do you deliver on-time, every time?

    – What strategic needs do you meet?

    – Do you think strategically about your responsibilities?

    – Do you address issues before they become crises?

    – What have you accomplished that gives you a real sense of achievement?

    – What do you consistently do that adds value?

    – Are you loyal – to your colleagues, to your team, to your project, to your customers, to your values, and to yourself?

    – Do you continue your personal development?

– What’s the “pitch” for “You”?  What makes you visible?  The extra project, volunteering, how you show up.  (Catherine Kaputa, founder of Selfbrand, LLC asks:  “Do you have a visual identity that … is consistent with your personal brand …?”)

– Does your network of relationships support your brand?  If not, what do you need to do to improve?

In our always connected and communicating world, the brands that stand for something relevant and that build positive perception and expectations are the ones that succeed.  And, so it also is with personal brands.

So, take a moment to look at how you are seen from this point of view.  And, if changes are needed, make them a priority.


.  .  .  .     jim