Are YOU a brand?

cattle brand

Are you a brand? Yes you are, whether you like it or not.

As a professional adviser for the Michigan State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, I was approached recently to help secure a speaker for a professional development session on personal branding. I put the word out on Twitter to mid-Michigan folks, asking them who came to mind when thinking about who has built and maintains a solid personal brand.

A number of people replied with the same answers, so that was a good sign that those folks nominated as having a “solid personal brand” truly do. I was honored and humbled to be among those listed. I think it’s rewarding to know that the work I’ve done to put myself out there in a way that is open and sincere in all facets of my online and real-life encounters is paying off.

I also was somewhat surprised, however, when one person asked why everyone is so worried about their personal brand and if this was a symptom of the “me, me, me” philosophy complained about so often lately.

It got me thinking about different perspectives on this issue. I believe everything you do in your personal and professional life is building or dismantling your personal brand. It doesn’t matter who you work for — you as an individual are responsible for your brand. It starts as a young college student building that first resume and continues throughout your career as you add on job experience, professional  references and personal online identities.

Obviously, my opinion isn’t the only one — so let’s hear yours. Are you a brand? If so, what are you doing to build and maintain it? If not, why not — I want to hear the other side of this argument as well.

For reference, I’m pleased to share the other nominees for those in mid-Michigan cited by at least a few people as having a solid personal brand:

(Photo courtesy of Lucinda Surber)