Whether we like it or not, we all have a personal brand


I’ve read a few interesting posts this week poo-pooing the concept of personal brand and reminding us we are people not brands (and thus shouldn’t be trying to manage ourselves as such). The problem with dismissing the concept of personal brand is you’re assuming everyone in the world is someone who can unconditionally accept you for who you are, warts and all. Obviously, this is just not the case. So outside our most inner circles, every one of us is already managing our personal brand whether we realise it or not:

If our politics lean sharply to the left, we keep our mouths shut when colleagues start discussing the merits of Andrew Bolt’s latest column. If we’re a smoker, we’re probably not going to light up while watching our kids’ athletics carnival. If someone calls us a horrible name on twitter we’re probably not going to reply in kind.

The simplest definition of branding is:

‘What people say about you when you’re not in the room’

Every single one of us is continually adjusting our behaviour in order to influence what people say about us when we’re not in the room. This doesn’t mean we’re not behaving in a manner consistent with our core values and beliefs (as it’s this set of core values and beliefs that underpins our personal brand). But we still edit ourselves depending on who we’re talking to (for example: the 2000 people who follow us on twitter vs our two best friends).

Anyone who thinks they’re not doing this is kidding themselves.

Sure there are people out there who take things a step further. People who actively create a very distinct narrative around themselves that might not actually reflect their core values and beliefs. But these people are the minority because few people have the energy to role play their way through life.

For the rest of us, I would argue having an awareness that we are brands (especially in this age of social media) actually makes for better relationships in every aspect of our lives. Rather than shooting our mouths off and making ill-informed throwaway comments, we stop, think and edit.

Some people may say this editing process means a person isn’t being ‘true to themselves’. I say it just makes them a more sensible and considered person.

Someone who I am more likely to say nice things about when they’re not in the room 😉


What’s your take on the concept of ‘personal brand’. Love it or hate it? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


5 thoughts on “Whether we like it or not, we all have a personal brand”

  1. Agree 110%! We all have a personal brand. Don’t care what you look like or how you appear to others? That is your brand! We all have a brand. May as well be aware of it and make it work for you!

    1. Exactly right? I get really annoyed that people equate being aware of your personal brand with being inauthentic. Being aware of is smart … and also makes you a better person.

  2. I totally agree with you on this, Kel. Whether online or in the real world, others will perceive, judge and form opinions of who you are. You can’t control this 100% but if you are aware of it, the power is in your hands. For me personally, I can’t help but be me. My true voice comes across in everything I say and if I’m not saying anything, then chances are it’s written all over my face! No secrets with me. Ever. (That may not be a good thing…!)

  3. My brand has become jewellery as that is what I do, wear and sell. I live in it and all the ladies at my local shopping centre are constantly talking about my jewels, they see me coming and ask what I’m wearing and if I made it. I have been branded by the sparkle fairy.

    I’m also a trained stylist and a part of that is understanding we are judged every single day by what we wear, the way we look, speak and act etc. Looking good is a must if you want to be taken seriously.

    Also, I love Andrew Bolt, don’t always agree with him and am a Liberal lover as well but don’t do politics.

    By the way, I have never seen a parent NOT light up a smoke at a kids carnival unless it is no smoking, and then you all know where they’ll be, where the perimeter ends.

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