Personal branding

Welcome to the journey towards creating your personal brand.


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You have put in some high quality work in this class to help for-profit and / or not-for-profit organizations to think more strategically. Part of your recommendations centered on providing clarity and direction with respect to their brands. You’ve conveyed to them how this ties to their competitive edge.


For this exercise, you are again a consultant. You are also the client.


Recapping the conversation around branding, it starts with clarity on the “category”, when and how others will think of you. From there it addressed the matter of “positioning”, from low frills to ultra-premium. Then it addressed the brand “identity & promise”.


Brand “awareness” and “management” then follows, the former about telling one’s story once the story is figured out. The latter is about maintaining the story over time, when unexpected things occur, when things go wrong. And of course, the “value proposition” gets into the tactical essence of a brand.


Most organizations have not really sorted this out. Same for most individuals.




Step 1 … Getting Clarity on You (You Are the Exec Team, an Exec Team of 1)!



All personal branding assigned steps and questions will be highlighted in GREEN. All posed questions in other colors are concepts to think about as you formulate your personal brand! Feel free to write about your personal brand in the first person (e.g. I / my). It is about you!



By implication, then, this requires knowing who one is and aspires to be. You are your own executive team of one, though you formally or informally may surround yourself with a personal board of directors … to keep you honest, on track, to check in, to provide advice, or just a sounding board.



That noted, if you have never completed an MBTI personality assessment, or if you have in the past done an MBTI assessment but forgot the outcome, or, if you scored close to the middle on one (plus) letter pairings, go to the following to score your MBTI type, at no cost:



Respond to questions in a manner that reflects who you have been / are on a typical day in a typical situation – not who you might aspire or feel you ought to be … to avoid striving to become someone that you are not naturally designed / gifted to be.



All MBTI types are cool! And, each comes with innate weaknesses … and strengths! The magic is to be authentic so the result will provide meaningful insight. The best answer is “who one is”!



After identifying your MBTI type, read up on your profile at Personality Page:



Write a two page (double-spaced) summary of key points of your MBTI type. Define what you are innately good at. Define too what you are innately not so good at. Note your insights on how the description fits, or doesn’t. For those that score close to the center on a letter pairing, the description may not resonate as strongly. In this case, look at the description of the MBTI type that profiles the opposite letter pairing.


What are your typical interests?


What are your typical strengths?


What work environment best fits?


What are you not naturally good at?


What work environment creates stress?



In reality we are of course “more” than our MBTI type. And, MBTI is but one approach to make sense of who we are, how we are wired. Other psychological factors can include:


  • IQ one is born with


  • Innate gifts and talents


  • Formative life-experience


  • Education and training


  • Individual interests




Step 2 … Brand Category and Positioning!


It is an interesting thing that we tend to become passionate about things in which we are accomplished. And we tend to become accomplished at thinks in which we are more naturally gifted and wired to do. Hard work still comes into play.


It is also interesting that we tend to compete much more successfully when doing work that we are passionate about, which is work that we are naturally gifted to do, along with hard work to become accomplished. Succeeding in work is generally much easier when working inside one’s sweet-spot.


Your career will become a key element of your personal brand … an integral part of one’s reputation. Look up typical careers for your MBTI type, where and how individuals with your type tend to succeed. Also review growth strategies in these career paths.



Shortlist your “top three” careers of interest for your MBTI type (feel free to consider other careers beyond this list). Briefly define each of these three along with the typical career paths of each. Speak to the pros and cons of each.


Then identify your number one career choice as best you see it at this time.


Are you just intrigued with the idea of it, perhaps because it’s prestigious? Or, does it really make you smile in spite of perhaps hard work and lengthy training yet required of you to get there? Can you envision Monday morning being as good as Saturday morning?


Write a 2 page (double-spaced) summary of your number one career choice as you best see it at this time. Address the education, designations plus specialization that will be part of it. Define the level of seniority you wish to attain and specific industry if applicable.


As noted, address how advanced, specialized and senior you aspire to become (positioning). Perhaps you will wish to remain near entry-level, or, at the top as a noted industry expert / partner / specialist … or somewhere in between.


Define how your MBTI wiring with innate abilities and interests fits with this career choice. Also, at a high level, define how this career direction will impact other key aspects of your life … positively, perhaps adversely.



There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this. For some, family, life-balance, low-stress and time for other priorities are more important than climbing the corporate ladder. Or, you may be willing to make sacrifices and put other things on hold, to achieve big things in your career.


Also, note that this “ideal career” may change over time. Life can bring unexpected opportunities that should be seized. Life also can bring unanticipated setbacks that make an earlier career vision not so feasible … noting there are always hurdles, and always shiny distractions.




Step 3 … Brand Identity and Promise!


You have identified in part who you are by applying the Myers Briggs typology.


You have identified your ideal career, as you see it now … your brand category.


Also, you have identified your ideal level of specialization … your brand positioning.



Building on this, there are multiple sites that profile the 12 MBTI archetypes, each with its own distinct personality. The following is a summation of key themes that summarize each:


ENTJ – strategic directors … the executives … life’s natural leaders … field marshal

ENFJ – engaging mobilizers … the givers … smooth talking persuader … teacher

ESTJ – efficient drivers … the guardians … life’s administrators … supervisor

ESFJ – committed builders … the caregivers … hosts of the world … provider

ENTP – explorers … the visionaries … one exciting challenge after another … inventor

ENFP – impassioned catalysts …  the inspirers … giving life an extra squeeze … champion

ESTP – dynamic mavericks … the doers … the ultimate realists … promoter

ESFP – improvisers … the performer … you only go around once in life … performer


INTJ – thinkers … the scientists … everything has room for improvement … mastermind

INFJ – insightful motivators … the protectors … an inspiration to others … counselor

ISTJ – responsible executors … the duty fulfillers … doing what should be done … inspector

ISFJ – dedicated stewards … the nurturers … a high sense of duty … protector

INTP – expansive analysers … the thinkers … a love of problem solving … architect

INFP – inspired crusaders … the idealists … performing noble service to aid society … healer

ISTP – nimble pragmatists … the mechanics … ready to try anything once … operator

ISFP – practical custodians … the artists … sees much but shares little … composer


Part 1

Given your MBTI archetype, define the following to clarify what your brand stands for … and by inference … what you choose not to stand for, with respect to your brand:


Motto – in one sentence, what drives you and what are you about?

Core Desire – what fundamentally do you plan to become known for?

Goal – what do you plan to achieve … what gets you up in the morning?

Greatest Fear – what is your greatest fear, what holds you back if anything?

Strategy – what competitive edge or key angle will get you to your destination?

Weakness – what’s your Achilles heel, what do you need to not do or let others do?

Talent – what knowledge, abilities and massive action support your desired outcomes?


Then, be creative! Have fun with this. See if you can summarize the essence of this in one sentence.



Brand Promise is about “output quality”. Some people will promise & under-deliver … perhaps lazy … perhaps narcissistic and just in it for themselves. This is a short-term easy-way-out that will consistently disappoint others who are impacted by their work … colleagues, employers, clients, family and friends.


Sometimes people may seem to get away with this lack of integrity for a time if political connections are strong. Generally, though, this has an adverse impact on one’s personal brand. And even if not, it may become difficult for a person to like and respect oneself … also a key quality to one’s personal brand.


Most professionals will say-what-you’ll-do & do-what-you-say. This is the middle of the bell curve. It doesn’t require much creative thought. But it does mean carefully scoping out what can be reasonably delivered and promised, then being tenacious in achieving it. This is being integral … but doesn’t really stand out.


And, some people will promise & over-deliver. The idea is not to come in with a “false low” and then deliver more, as these people will then lose opportunities to the prior category of professionals that come prepared with a solid and superior promise and deliver on it well.


Rather, this is about meeting the promise of the prior category, but then also looking for creative and impactful ways to unexpectedly delight the employer / client. This of course needs to be cost-effective … but is a unique way for your personal brand to bounce … to truly stand out.



“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression

– with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”

Natalie Massenet

“A strong personal brand will bring new opportunities, just

as a negative one can mean missed opportunities.”

Shama Hyder



Your Brand Promise should align with your values and what you aspire to achieve! We purchase products and services all the time that disappoint, deliver as expected, or, surprise us in a positive way. You can see how this impacts your perception of those brands. This then should make all sorts of sense.


Further to this, your “brand promise” supporting your “brand identity” will be impacted by further very practical considerations, elements of one’s life that will also have implications on one’s personal brand. In no particular order of importance, the following is representative of things to consider:


  • Empathy/Acceptance of Self and also Others
  • Refinement in Listening and Speaking
  • Shoes, Dress as well as Grooming
  • Home, Vehicle and Zip Code
  • Connections-Relationships
  • Office Décor and Order
  • Courage with Humility
  • Professional Polish
  • Circle of Friends
  • On-line Profile
  • Work Ethic
  • Resilience
  • Integrity
  • Partner
  • Habits


Part 2

Define your Personal Brand Promise. What is your underlying philosophy and why? Provide some hypothetical examples of how you will intentionally execute this promise in your chosen career path. It may take some creative thinking … that can be the fun part!


Then, consider the various other considerations in your life that build on perception and reputation. This is about consistently telling the story of your brand. In a couple pages, bring some definition as to how you will choreograph this persona that you aspire to exude.



This provides opportunity to think about many facets … people you hang out with, or not. For better or worse, friendships have a big impact on who one is and upon one’s brand. You might think about places you will frequent, and places you choose not to frequent and more.


You might focus on modifying your apparel and overall appearance. Internal substance matters the most for sure, but people do judge a book by its cover. And, defining how you can hit-it-out-of-the-park with internal substance is a major brand design thought process.



“My Mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes …

where they going, where they been …”

Forest Gump

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