What Does Your Personal Brand Say About You?

My definition of a personal brand is simply to describe it as your unique promise of value.  It is unique because it is authentic only to you.  It is a promise because you will always deliver on what differentiates you from others who offer the same or similar skill sets.  It is a value because people are compelled to hire, promote and engage with you based on a value they cannot get elsewhere.  Strong brands – whether products, places or people – constantly and consistently offer a unique promise of value.  The moment they fail to do so, they change from a brand to a commodity.  And, let’s face it most people simply do not get excited over common commodities.

From my research, personal branding seems to have been introduced back in 1997 by management guru Tom Peters, who told Fast Company magazine, “We are all CEOs of our own companies, Me, Inc. To be in business today our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.”

The average person does not see themselves as a brand and does not want to stand out.  Career men and women, however, want a good job that provides security, stability and a steady paycheck until retirement.  Today, these “careerists” are uncovering, communicating and managing their brand to get ahead.  As job security and job tenure decrease and globalization increases competition and social media provides an accessible platform for the average person to finally be, as Tom Peters put it, the “head marketer of their brand,” the time has come to stand out to your employer.

As the employed, we need to understand that standing out is not something reserved only for a business owner.  In today’s economy, all career minded people must stand out and differentiate themselves from others with similar backgrounds, all competing for the same opportunities.

As many of us muddle through the current global economic mess and our closer to home fears of another recession, we must open up our minds to change.  This is why personal branding is needed now more than ever.  As we uncover our personal brands and use their unique promise of value to be more successful, a wake up call will sound – one that does not alarm but, instead, builds a frame of mind that value and reward standing out and that cultivates our own personal brand.

As Tom Peters ended his article, he warned “It’s this simple:  You are a brand.  You are in charge of your brand.  There is no single path to success.  And there is no one right way to create the brand called YOU.

Guest Blogger ~ Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager




  1. Excellent essay Lonnie- Thanks! Question: What best practices might you offer on “how to” create a pesonal brand? Or, perhaps you know of a few examples of people who have succeeded in creating and managing their brand in a way others might follow. Thx, GAP

    • @Gary: Great Question! For me, I considered what platforms to use that would allow for easy management of content while being to, nearly instantaneously, “publish” topics that have value to me. I eventually created and subsequently implemented the following:

      A personal blog (http://lonnieledford.blogspot.com/); (free)
      A LinkedIn Profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/lonnieledford); (free)
      A Facebook Profile (https://www.facebook.com/lonnie.ledford); (free)
      A Twitter Profile (https://twitter.com/LonnieDLedford); (free)
      A Google+ Profile (https://plus.google.com/100653800495171861408/posts); (free) and,
      A personal website (www.lonnieledford.com). (nominal, yearly fee)

      During the creation phase of my personal branding project, I utilize a tag line that people can remember when engaging my content – “Proud American Patriot”. In each of the profiles listed above, you can find this tag line. As recently described by Avatel EVP, Ms. Jamie Wood, the pride that I refer to “…does not represent ego but instead, pleasure with humility.” American Patriot refers to how blessed I consider myself to be an American as well as having served in the U.S. Army as an Officer.

      Then, began the process of deciding what virtues were most important to me when writing and creating new content. For me, faith, loyalty, work, friendship and compassion are at the top of my list and are written about at length within my personal blog. Within each of the sites above, even within my professional biography on LinkedIn, a reader of my content can get a clear idea of what makes me unique and how I can add value to their life, to their organization or to their blog as a guest contributor.

      It’s always a pleasure hearing from a fellow graduate from Knox College. I miss the rural beauty Galesburg a great deal.

      Many Thanks!

      Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager

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