Are You a Brand?

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By: Lynn Parker,

After no requests for the topic for years, I’ve been asked to speak on “personal branding” twice in the past month. Because I pay attention to what the universe seems to want me to do, I’m taking notice. So do I have anything to add to the topic? Is personal branding something to pay attention to, as the universe suggests?

My kneejerk reaction is along the lines of Maureen Johnson’s BlogHer manifesto: I am not a brand! You can’t put people in boxes; we are more than what we say about ourselves, etc. But if I apply my definition of a brand, “the promise that you keep,” then I know that we all live our brand promise in everything we do, and that understanding and articulating that promise helps us be more of the person we intend to be, not less. I also know that our personal brand as it applies to our business selves is one expression of our whole self, and requires more conscious molding.

For insight, I’ve drawn on the lessons learned from the way we help companies figure out their brand promise. For businesses, we do research with customers and employees to determine the meaning behind their brand, then articulate it through a set of actionable brand tools. Here’s how we would adapt this process for personal branding, one that honors your individuality and complexity. The goal is to articulate the following: What sets you apart? What are your passions? What are your greatest strengths? What can people expect from you?

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