Building Your Brand in Class

What you do in your classes can help you create and establish your personal brand. Remember, your brand is your value- what you can do uniquely well to help others address issues or solve problems that matter to them.

Here are some things that you can do while you are still in school that will help your brand:

Bret L. Simmons: Building Your Brand In Class from Bret Simmons on Vimeo.

  • Learn: Learning should transform you and help you to become a different and better person, more valuable and more able to help others with things that matter to them.
  • Complete the class: Earn as good a grade as possible, but get the class under your belt and continue to make progress toward completing your degree.  Your degree is an important part of your brand because it helps certify the claims you make about your value.
  • Meet people and network: One of the most valuable things about a college education is the opportunities you have to meet talented and successful people in your classes. These people will go on to have great jobs at successful companies or start their own businesses, and they might be able to help you someday find a good job or start a business of your own – in turn, you might be able to help them as well.
  • Earn the respect and recommendation of your instructor: Letters of recommendation are often essential in order to get a good job or move on to higher levels of education.  When someone recommends you, they are attaching their brand to your brand, and they will only do that for people that they know will enhance- not tarnish- their reputation.  In my next blog post, I’ll give you some tips on how to earn the recommendation of your instructor.
  • Help other people in the class: If there are people in your classes that are self-responsible yet still struggling to make friends or having a hard time with the coursework, take the initiative to reach out and offer a helping hand. Caring about and helping other people is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  It is a critical leadership skill- one that for many of us takes time to develop. So, practice this principle while you are still in school.

Of these five things that I have suggested, which one should be your top priority?  Pay attention to your priorities, because your priorities drive your behavior and your behavior- more than anything else- establishes your brand.

I think your top priority should be to learn, so that you can become a different and better person than you are today.  If you focus on learning how to learn, you will develop a skill that will keep you at the top of your game for the rest of your career and your life.  The things you are learning today have a short shelf-life, so you need to foster the ability to continually improve and even re-invent your value over time.

Don’t get caught up just chasing a grade. I have students every semester that get so focused on the grade they want to earn that believe it or not, they forget to learn and improve along the way.  Don’t make that mistake.

Focus intently on becoming a better you and everything else will fall into place.


Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

Related posts:

  1. Building a Brand, not a Business
  2. Why You Need To Start Building Your Brand NOW
  3. Building Your Brand From Top Down

6 Responses to “Building Your Brand in Class”

  1. avatar Nitin Kohli says:

    Right on Bret!! Great advice. It amazing how many people ignore many of points mentioned above.

    • avatar Bret Simmons says:

      Thanks for your comment, Nitin! This is really a matter of developing good habits or relating to others. Best to develop these in class amongst peers and friends so you are ready to use them in the much more competitive world of work. Thanks! Bret

  2. Great message Dr. Simmons. This is what I believe education is all about. Thanks.

  3. avatar Theron says:

    Great post, Brett. It is never too early to start thinking about how a personal brand is going to help you in the future.

    I would also recommend to students that they pay attention to how their brand is being displayed from an outside perspective. For instance, how do people look at you in class situations or groups, and how does this translate online.

    Building personal relationships is the key to success and maintaining those relationships online is a great extension to these networking activities.

    Make sure your Facebook, MySpace and other online properties are well maintained and a good supplement to a networking brand.

    Embarrassing photos and comments on these platforms can tarnish you and your network of friends. It is not too early to think about this.

    The first thing that comes up on Google when someone makes a search (especially when it is an employer) should be a nice picture and professional description of that person’s skills rather than inappropriate content or images.

    There are tools out there to help you manage your online activities. When you start to change from a younger brand to a more mature professional brand, use these tools to your advantage.

    Theron McCollough

    • avatar Bret Simmons says:

      Theron, I agree 100%. The first thing I have the students in my personal branding class do is google themselves. Managing your image through managing your behavior is key to personal branding. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Bret

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