Jay Denhart-Lillard
Jay Denhart-Lillard 4 August 2015

What Is A Personal Brand? (And Why Should I Care About Mine?)

Your personal brand is how your connect with the wider world, and today -- managing it is more important than ever.

In today’s world, there seems to be competition everywhere. Competition to get into schools, to get into companies, to get ahead in companies…

One friend of mine was talking recently about competition between non-profits for the charity dollar! And when you think about it, it makes a certain sense that we are all competing to get the best for ourselves and our families. We want to succeed and make the most of our lives.

This situation of constant pressure isn’t always fun or pleasant, but it does bring into focus the need for clarity — clarity about what it is that makes us special. What makes us stand out from the competition. And some aspects of competition can be positive, because they can ask us to strive to reach higher, loftier goals and be ambitious about what we’d like to achieve.

Big Brands have long known that a strong, differentiated brand is required to compete in the wider marketplace. Since John Pemberton first invented Coca Cola and found ways to talk about its unique properties to pharmacists in Atlanta, Brands have been looking for those rare attributes that can catch our attention as consumers. And companies spend millions to share and communicate those features to us, And it works. We buy Brands that are strong, unique and special.  We buy Apple, and Coke, and Amazon. We buy into the ideals of these brands, because they stand for something special, and we identify with them.

“But I’m a PERSON, dang it! Not a brand!”

True! We aren’t products, sitting on a shelf and requiring broadcast channels or loud labels to tell our stories. We are complex, beautiful, messy, constantly learning, sometimes conflicted, and imperfect people. And that fact frees us to be even more deliberate as we think about our personal brand, because we not only have to know it, and be able to describe it, but actually LIVE IT as well. The things that differentiate us are also things that we form relationships with in those around us. And as we live, we create stories about ourselves that show ourselves uniquely. If you wrote down all the stories that have happened to you in your life, you’d start to get a clear picture about what is at the heart of this Brand you carry with you. Because it forms the heart of how you interact with the world.

That’s why your personal brand has to be authentic to you. Not a whitewash of what you think you should be about, but a concise statement of who you really are, and how you connect with the wider world. Figuring out your brand isn’t about being perfect. It shouldn’t be a mask, or something that hides the real you. It’s about knowing yourself, and being able to offer that to others. And I use the word ‘offer’ on purpose, because we don’t have to be reductive about what it means to be human, and the idea of all this competition driving us doesn’t have to be “zero sum” and heartless — we can cooperate, and be helpful to each other.  As a matter of fact, I think it’s critical that we are helpful.

Because in our world we depend on each other. And to get things done, we have to make judgements about the people around us. We have to choose who to put on our teams, and in our companies, and up the corporate ladder based upon what special qualities we think they have to bring success to our endeavors. To make these and other decisions, we look for special qualities in people like: Mary has great leadership skills, Joe has spectacularly sound judgement, Matt is caring, Daniel is considerate, Laura has great foresight, Michael offers a critical eye — I could go on and on. These qualities are the essence of a personal brand. Your personal brand is all about how you fit in and offer something special for others.

In today’s world, managing your own personal brand is more important than ever. In order to reach your goals, you need clarity about who you are, and about what makes you special. It’s important both for yourself, and for those around you who depend on you and what your personal brand can offer.

Original Article


Find out more on the future of Content Marketing at our DLUK - Trends briefing on the 24th September 2015

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Financial advisors and other professionals can decipher a lot of information from Google Analytics with three simple categories.

Marina Howell
Marina Howell 17 October 2016
Read more
Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Here's how you can get a complete view of your customer journey so that your email campaigns continue to win new customers.

Sophia Skinbjerg
Sophia Skinbjerg 18 October 2016
Read more
Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

The reality for retailers today is that to be successful, omnichannel strategies are no longer an option but a necessity to stay competitive. Consumers want to engage with brands on social media, in a physical store, on an ecommerce site, through a mobile app, via email or through a phone call.

Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 18 October 2016
Read more
How to Solve the Two Biggest Challenges of Social Media Marketing

How to Solve the Two Biggest Challenges of Social Media Marketing

Most small businesses spend more than 6 hours per week on social media marketing and more than one-third post at least once per day. Along with finding the time, the other biggest challenge professionals face is finding the right content to post. If you’re experiencing these challenges, keep reading because we’re going to help you solve them.

Melissa Darcey
Melissa Darcey 20 October 2016
Read more