Tag Archives: personal branding

Tips and ideas on how to improve your personal brand

Peter Montoya, author of The Brand Called You, defines personal branding as a personal identity that stimulates precise, meaningful perceptions in its audience about the values and qualities that person stands for.

It is important in our day and age to build and foster a positive personal brand as it is very easy for potential employers (and even partners) to find out information about us online, on sites such as Facebook.

Therefore we need to create a personal brand which plays to our strengths and portrays us as we would like to be seen, not the way that the random amalgamation of Facebook pictures presents us.

Nitish Bhalotia presents a personal branding pyramid in her essay titled, Personal Branding: Me Inc, which gives the following four steps in how to create a personal brand.

Step 1Determine who you are

The first thing to do is to start thinking of yourself as a brand. You are the marketer of your own brand, so sit down and identify your biggest strengths and most noteworthy personality traits. Determine your unique selling point by defining what it is that makes you out of the ordinary.

Step 2 – Determine what you do

Personal branding is not applying an attractive mask; it is understanding what ones values are and learning to make these values relevant to other people. Much of developing a personal brand centres on identifying personal values. (Bhalotia, 2004)

Step 3 – Position Yourself

Identify the qualities and characteristics that make you distinctively different from your friends, classmates or colleagues and use these to position yourself in the job market place.

Step 4 – Manage and market your brand

Tom Peters explained in an article in Fast Company, that for most branding campaigns, the first step is visibility and that as the marketer for brand You, you have to achieve visibility with no budget. He continues that the key to any personal branding campaign is word-of-mouth marketing.

The way in which to achieve great visibility with no budget through word-of-mouth advertising is to strike online. The best way to market yourself is through creating a blog about what you love. For tips on how to create a blog that speaks volumes check out my post titled What the Blog. Then advertise your blog on Facebook to your friends and family to build a loyal following.

I hope that these tips help you on your way to a building an effective personal brand. For more tips on how to create your personal brand, have a look at the following articles which I referenced in my post:

Bhalotia, N. 2004. Personal branding (Me Inc.) 

Peters, T. 1997. The Brand Called You. Fastcompany.com (to view the article click here)


The importance of personal branding – lessons from an icon

Everyone irrespective of their age, race, sex, business sector or position should know and understand the concept of branding and its importance and implications in all undertakings of our and any society.

Timothy Maurice Webster, inspirational speaker and international award winning leader, states (in Leadership magazine) that personal branding allows people to develop a platform for their value system that works for them in order to communicate who they are and what they stand for.

Webster continues that an iconic example of a salesperson that successfully created and promoted their personal brand is that of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Webster explains that during his presidency Mandela was a fierce negotiator and that his values were mirrored in his well-tailored and crisp image.

Richard Stengel, TIME magazine’s managing editor, wrote an article on Nelson Mandela in the July 2008 edition of the magazine in celebration of Madiba’s birthday. The article listed Mandela’s eight lessons of leadership as interpreted by Stengel. These so-called “Madiba’s rules” were the guidelines by which Mandela lived and ran his presidency. He employed these guidelines to create (and later cultivate) his personal brand.

In the article Stengel states that the eight rules were “cobbled together from conversations [with Mandela] and from observing him up close and from afar”. Stengel then continues to say that they [the rules] are mostly practical and stem directly from Mandela’s personal experiences.

Rule #1 – Courage is not the absence of fear; it is inspiring others to move beyond it.

Rule #2 – Lead from the front – but don’t leave your base behind

Rule #3 – Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front

Rule #4 – Know your enemy – and learn from his favourite sport

Rule #5 – Keep your friends close – and your rivals even closer

Rule #6 – Appearances matter – and remember to smile

Rule #7 – Nothing is black or white

Rule #8 – Quitting is leading too

As Webster stated in his article, Mandela new how to create and nurture his brand he new that “a good suit represents armour and is a form of business and political protection from prejudice”. Mandela knew that in order to be taken seriously as a black man in apartheid South Africa, he needed to look the part and he therefore chose to wear suits every day of his political career.

Therefore in summary, the key to personal branding lies in the embodiment of the brand. This is something that Mandela knew very well and it is exactly this mindset which lead to the success of his unfaltering personal brand. In conclusion, to borrow a few words from Webster “his [Mandela] brand was, and is, a story that inspires transformation, and he began by transforming himself internally and externally.


Stengel, R. 2008, July 21. Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership. TIME magazine. (Pages 22 – 28) available online at time.com/mandela

Webster, T.M. 2010, March. Inspire, engage and provide an example. Leadership Magazine. Edition 302. (Pages 26 – 28) available online at leadershiponline.co.za