What’s Your Brand and Why Does it Matter?

Joe Cool

Are you Joe Cool?


Or perhaps you’re the queen of the call center?


Or just the girl on the go… regardless of snow?

In today’s competitive market, it’s more important than ever to have a personal brand to separate yourself from the pack. But for executives who have experienced a great deal of success, what should go into your brand?

When I have an initial conversation with executives, they communicate a litany of skills and accomplishments, often far ranging and far reaching. Very few are able to succinctly sum up what truly differentiates them and makes them unique. In other words, very few have thought about or developed their personal brand. That’s because to a person, they’ve been wrapped up and committed to developing their company’s brand, focusing on driving performance and profitability.

Having a personal brand not only helps you as an individual, it also reflects well on your company. One of the best examples of this is Steve Jobs, a genuine visionary whose personal brand helped shape Apple as a company that drives innovation.

But when you’re ready to leave your company, what does the marketplace know about you? Have you been diligent and deliberate about developing your brand, calling out what makes you a unique and desirable leader? In today’s digital age, when a quick search and a couple of clicks can reveal so much, are you showing up?

Most executives are not and that’s why it’s crucial to avoid being a digital dinosaur, step into the 21st century and embrace today’s technologies to develop a consistent, cross platform personal brand. It should include a web portfolio, a polished LinkedIn Profile and, if you have time, a Twitter account and perhaps a blog to show off your skills as a subject matter expert. In this way you take control of the content and message and create a unique, memorable personal brand.

Developing your personal brand is what it takes if, instead of running with the pack you want to lead it.









Billionaire Bandying: Broadcasting Brand


Love him or hate him (there seems to be no in between), Donald Trump’s rise to the Presidency can be attributed in large part to his use of social media. In sending out tweets, the President-Elect was able to control his message, going around traditional media, avoiding biases and inaccuracies to communicate directly with the people. In this way, he was able to market himself and his personal brand. When questioned about his twitter use on 60 Minutes, Trump said, “I find it tremendous. It’s a modern form of communication. There should be nothing you should be ashamed of. It’s — it’s where it’s at.”

They don’t agree on much, but billionaire businessman, Dallas Maverick’s Owner and “Shark Tank” star, Mark Cuban also thinks it’s where it’s at. He too, is a prolific tweeter. During an interview with Business Insider, Cuban remarked that it’s the ease in which he can get his message out that’s so appealing about Twitter.

So you have two billionaires who have cultivated mega personal brands squaring off on social media. What does that mean to you? As a modern day executive looking to advance in your career, it’s a lesson in self-promotion and marketing. To establish yourself as a subject matter expert, savvy in today’s communication and marketing techniques, you need to be putting yourself out there, controlling your message and broadcasting your brand.


Breaking Bad: Mobile Networking Mistakes

There was a powerful scene in the fifth season of AMC’s award winning show, “Breaking Bad”. In it, Walter White (a.k.a. Heisenberg, a high school chemistry teacher turned master meth cook and drug lord) offers a potential drug distributor a percent of his risky business. What unfolds is a highly unconventional business dialogue, with far more tension than your typical distribution agreement or salary negotiation.

The episode is entitled “Say My Name.” It’s worth taking the two minutes to watch the scene included above but for our purposes, I’ll summarize. After offering to cut the drug distributor in for a mere 35% of Walter’s growing enterprise, the scene unfolds as follows:

Drug distributor: “Who the hell are you?”
Walter White: “You know… you all know exactly who I am.”
Drug distributor: “Do what… I, I don’t have a damn clue who the hell you are.”
Walter gives the distributor some background of his nefarious activities and the distributor realizes who he’s dealing with.
Walter White: “That’s right… now, say my name. “

I thought of this episode when I was speaking with a client who had texted a former colleague and received a curt text reply along the lines of, “Who the hell are you?” The former colleague went on to say “I’m not in the habit of memorizing phone numbers.”

We’ve all done this before. I know I have, texted someone forgetting that you might not be in their contact list and the recipient had no clue who you were. In fact, this just happened to me this past week with a dear friend, my name wasn’t listed among his contacts and he didn’t recognize my phone number. Once he knew who I was, our communication improved dramatically.

This is important to remember as you’re reaching out to people and networking in your efforts to make a career transition or build relationships. Remember to identify yourself in the text, in other words, “Say your name!”