3 steps to a strong personal brand

Do you have a personal brand?
Do you have a personal brand?

I was reading an article the other day in Fast Company about Alex Bogusky of Crispin, Porter, Bogusky fame, who in 2010 stepped down as founder and creative guru of the sizzling hot, Miami- and Boulder-based, award-winning Agency of the Decade he created. Bogusky is known as the Steve Jobs of the ad world, and the article outlined all of his awards and his incredible work ethic. Outwardly, his personal brand seemed, well, awesome.

But surprisingly, that same article included interviews by many of the people who worked for him—people who described the work environment he created as miserable, and the man as the ultimate narcissist.


The juxtaposition of the absolute brilliance of his work with the alleged Machiavellian nature of the man intrigued me.

And it made me wonder.

After all these years working with myriads of people to create brands, what personal brand perception have I created for myself in the eyes of those around me, and is what I have created an accurate representation of me?

I define brands, differentiate them, revitalize and reinvent them—but have I ever put my personal brand exploration through the rigor with which I approach my product brands?

Do you have a strong personal brand?

Below are 3 important steps to consider when creating your personal brand: 

1. What is your emotional connection with people? Just as brands connect to people, so must brand managers. Identify the adjectives that you believe define you and write them down.  Key to a personal brand is making sure you are authentic—don't put down “funny” if people don't laugh at your jokes!

2. Write your own description. Disney “delivers happiness,” Nike delivers “authentic athletic performance.” What is your description? Ask yourself the same questions you ask your brands:  Who am I? What do I do? And most important—why does it matter?

3. Combine the first two steps and develop your brand mantra. It should be short and inspirational—you in a soundbite. Define it, and be it.

It's not easy to do, but once you do it, you've got a consistent mantra to live up to. And you should be true to it whether you're in the throes of launches, meeting pressure deadlines, or sitting at your family dinner table. You don't want surprising juxtapositions of who you want people to think you are, versus who you are.

Now, relook at your Twitter description—does it reflect your own brand mantra?

Does your LinkedIn profile contain components consistent with your personal brand?

How about when you introduce yourself in a meeting?

Defining your personal brand can help in a world where you have to present yourself in soundbites and short profiles. It helps you stay…dare I say it…true to you.

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