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Response to “Why I Don’t Get Personal Branding Sometimes” posted at Network Solutions’ “Solutions are Power” Small Business blog

April 17, 2009

Hi, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinions on personal branding.

The terms “personal brand” and “personal reputation” are not interchangeable nor do they mean the same thing, and perhaps that is the source of confusion. “Brand” precedes and defines “reputation” in a space where your reputation is not already known.

Prior to the advent of the web, search engines and social media platforms, your personal brand was called “your resume,” at least in professional circles anyway, and it had severely limited distribution. Your resume was, or should have been, crafted to present your reputation in a positive light, in a way that would appeal to your target audience who had no prior experience with your prior accomplishments. Your resume preceded and defined your professional reputation.

Today we can easily reach out much farther than before, and in the case of “reputation management,” we can be reached by many more people much easier than ever before, and it’s only getting easier. That means many more people who have no idea of your accomplishments might be trying to draw conclusions about who you are. Enter the “personal brand.”

I want to control as best as I can my image that people may discover. I want to avoid the possibility that someone may have an idea of who I am that is not to my benefit. So I craft a brand that says what I want people to think about me; I craft a promise of my past and future accomplishments; I craft trustworthiness and reliability; I craft all the same concepts that companies do through their brands for myself. Then I have to deliver on that promise, just like companies do, or the brand will fail; the brand will be untrustworthy creating the wrong reputation.

Brands are not for the existing “customers” of the brand; that’s what reputation is for and where reputation is built. Brands are for future customers; a promise of reputation to be delivered. The brand defines and precedes the reputation.

My name is Lyell E. Petersen, and my personal brand is 93octane. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Lyell E. Petersen / 93octane
@93octane on Twitter

Originally posted as a comment by 93octane / Lyell E. Petersen on Helping Small Business help themselves – Network Solutions using Disqus.

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