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On Personal Branding

by David Brock on August 24th, 2016

I’m amused by all the articles and talk about personal branding.  But, it’s always fashionable to develop new names for age-old concepts.  To be fair, sometimes these label shifts bring these principles back to our attention.

To some degree, the concepts of personal branding and reputation are–or should be—synonymous.

I’m not sure in much of modern personal branding, they are.  It seems much of the discussion focuses on building visibility and building broad networks.  The trick in sustaining your personal brand isn’t in how big your network is or how visible you are, but rather in delivering on your brand promise.

Building a personal brand and delivering on your brand promise is what reputation is all about.  Somehow, though, much of the discussion of personal branding seems very complicated and too social channel oriented.

To me, the concepts are very simple:

  • You are recognized for having good ideas and sharing them.
  • You are recognized for being knowledgeable–about your company and it’s offerings, about your customers, their markets, and their industries.
  • You leverage that knowledge in a manner that is helpful, helping both  yourself and others grow.
  • You are trustworthy.
  • You meet your commitments, whether it’s showing up on time, delivering on your promises, or anything else..
  • You create value in every interchange–not just with customers and prospects, but with colleagues and within your community.
  • You are looking to constantly learn and improve, as well as helping others learn and improve.
  • You are driven, genuinely, to be helpful.
  • You are open to differing points of view, listening and learning.
  • You accept responsibility and accountability–no excuses.
  • You learn from your mistakes and move on.
  • You stand for something and have a value system consistent with those with whom you are building your personal brand.
  • You have a growth oriented mindset.

Building your personal brand is the same as building your reputation.  It’s not about your social media/networking activity.  It’s not about whether you blog, tweet, post on Facebook or another channel.  It’s not about building quantity in your network, but rather quality.

You build your brand every day in every interaction with everyone.  Whether it is in your office, on the phone, waiting in the lobby of a customer, in meetings,

I tend to believe personal branding needs to be “local,” that is focused on your customers and prospects.  If your territory is Southern California, you need to build your personal brand in Southern California.  Building it in India or South Africa is meaningless and a waste of your time as well as those in the distant areas.  It’s in those “local” networks that you have the greatest impact.  (Realize “local” means where your personal focus and accountability is–which in some cases may be global.)

Personal branding isn’t new, it isn’t complicated, we all know it as our reputations.

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