Is your brand really helping you?

So…we’re building a personal brand. For what? This is part of a larger question probably, like: “what do you want to do with your life?”

Let’s say we built a brand around becoming an accounting professional. Combined with our work history, a blog we’ve started, and other activities – we’re recognized as a very strong professional in the accounting space.

But, what if we don’t really want to do accounting? Through a series of circumstances we found ourselves in that field and subsequently built a brand around it. We don’t own our brands – so we can’t wake up tomorrow and decide that now our brand is going to be something more suited to our recent tastes.

What if Google switched its entire business to something completely unrelated to its entire body of work on the internet and information? We would have a hard time accepting – or even understanding the change.

Personal branding (and all branding) is extremely powerful – we’re talking about shaping people’s perceptions, the way they see and interact with us, and what we represent. These things take time to build. Without a large online presence we can make material changes and not have to worry about changing the perceptions along with it. But, if we have that presence, we have to change those perceptions as well – which is to say: start with the end in mind.

Okay, so obviously our interests and tastes will change – so will our career. Your brand should serve both where you are and where you want to go. So if we have an idea of what we want our next step to be, we should build that into our brand.

Let’s look at our brands…ask if the brand is suitable for where we are now? Next, let’s think about what our next step would be – is our brand serving that goal?

What makes you happy? What do you want to do? Hopefully – these things are represented in your brand.

And, I want to share this article from the New York Times. A great example of someone taking a non-traditional route and doing what they love.


Jonathan has broad ranging experience and currently works in eMarketing at Thomson Reuters in the Twin Cities area.  He is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University where he majored in Marketing.  Prior to returning to Thomson Reuters, where he had an internship during college, he worked for Expedia in an account management role for their North American lodging business. Jonathan is an avid enthusiast of all things marketing, economics, and travel. And, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@jonathanpetrino), LinkedIn, and his website.

Related posts:

  1. How Strong is Your Personal Brand?
  2. Make a Commitment to Your Personal Brand
  3. What If You Don’t Build Your Personal Brand?

6 Responses to “Is your brand really helping you?”

  1. avatar Lew Sauder says:

    Great post and also a great NYT article. Everyone should aspire to make a living at their hobbies as part of their brand. I’ve seen people who aspire to a career that pays well but they don’t enjoy. Your heart won’t be in it, you won’t do as well on the job. The resulting long-term earnings will be lower because of your performance. Have a passion for what you do. You will love your work and will most likely be paid more for it. That is what success is all about.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (

    • Lew – thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. And, I couldn’t agree more about doing what enjoy. Certainly easier to build a career (and brand) around something we enjoy. Cheers.

  2. avatar Bumby says:

    Very well stated: “Without a large online presence we can make material changes and not have to worry about changing the perceptions along with it. But, if we have that presence, we have to change those perceptions as well – which is to say: start with the end in mind. ” I have found that if, as I am in the process of changing direction in material, I explain my thoughts my readers will guide the process.

  3. avatar Ed Han says:

    Excellent point re: the fact that our brands grow–sometimes unchecked in unexpected or non-deliberate directions, I thought. Having a focus and understanding that the totality of what we do and have done comprises our brand is an often unaddressed aspect of this discussion, I think.

    • Ed – thanks for the comment. I agree…taking a longer term view of things is hard to do, but I think it is one of the things that separates good brands from great brands – both personal and commercial.

  4. Bumby – also well stated: “…my readers will guide the process”

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