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A Lexus or a Toyota? What’s your personal brand?

November 11, 2014

The blogosphere is awash with advice about the need for business leaders to develop a ‘personal brand’ in their career.

Like any brand, your ‘personal brand’ encapsulates the uniqueness, attributes and value you have to offer. In the business world this means what you bring to employers, stakeholders and the broader business community.

Cars are a great analogy for understanding brands. As an employer I need to be able to easily spot the Lexus amongst a sea of Toyotas. (And similarly spot the Toyota amongst the Lexus when it’s a Toyota I need!)

Despite the prevailing rhetoric about the need to develop your brand, you already have one whether you know it or not. It’s articulating and consistently remaining true to your personal brand that is the challenge. Clarity, consistency and constancy are the hallmarks of any strong brand.

What’s your brand?

What are you good at? What’s special about you? Talking with trusted friends and colleagues can help you identify your unique talents, your attributes and the value you bring to a role or situation. And remember brands develop and grow over time. They’re never completely static.

Living your brand

While businesses use advertising and marketing to establish their brand in the market, for most people their personal brand is just that – it’s personal.

Your brand is communicated through the things you say and do and how others perceive you when they interact with you. And nothing damages a brand quicker than when what you say and what you do don’t match.

Having a clear of idea of what your personal brand is makes it much easier to faithfully communicate your brand clearly and consistently.

Authenticity is the key

The secret to your personal brand working for you is that it is authentic. You haven’t developed it, you’ve just articulated what is already there and thought through how you communicate it. It really is you.

It sounds too simple but I believe it – just be yourself and believe in the value of what you have to offer the world and you and your brand will thrive.


PS for the record the author drives a well-maintained, but ever so slightly ageing Peugeot 306 Cabriolet. Mmmh time for a new car?

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