founder of naked leader

Personal Branding

Naked Leader Week – 39 – Monday 26th January 2004

Final Exclusive Advance Extracts from The Naked Leader Experience,

publishing Thursday 1st April 2004 (note – the download will be available from 1st April)

 Personal Branding has become a hot topic in recent years. You know the sort of thing. When you think of Tiger Woods, you think of a superbly talented sportsman who is capable of beating all opposition – a veritable mean machine of efficiency! Or Bill Gates – the massively successful businessman who has quite literally changed the way we live our lives. Just two names that immediately conjure up images of winning, of being at the very top of their chosen field.

And yet, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have to be the most influential person on this planet in order to use personal branding to your advantage. In fact, each and every day, your unique brand is ‘out there’- representing you in any number of ways.

Just think about this for a moment.

What do you think people think about you?

Be honest

And honesty means knowing the nice things that people say about you, as well as the not so nice.

You already do this every year in your organisation, at performance appraisal time. So often such reviews are linked to money and that may not be the best time to think about personal branding.

You already do this every day in your relationships, as you communicate with other people – with your partner, your family and with absolutely everyone (yes, including that motorist who cut you up this morning, and that guy on the mobile phone on the train with the annoying laugh that you would like to strangle…)

And you already do this every moment as you communicate with yourself. Because what you think about, you are.

There are two complementary parts to personal branding, Reputation, and Reach.


“Reputation! Reputation! Reputation! Oh! I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself and what remains is bestial.”

Othello, William Shakespeare.

(With thanks to Nick Hall)

So, in the course of each and every day you are an appalling parent, a wonderful partner, an amazing presenter, an invisible manager etc, etc.

These are all your behaviours, these are all you, and taken together, they will form other’s perceptions of you. Over time, I hear you say. The odd mistake, raised voice or gesture with two fingers does not a brand make. Wrong.

As human beings we make up our minds about other people in the first few seconds from meeting them. We then subconsciously put them into one of our pigeon-holes, based on:

How they dress

Their facial features

How they move

How they speak

Long before we have learned anything about them.

And first impressions are very powerful, and very hard to shift. Indeed, when we have made up our mind about someone, we then seek out evidence to support those first thoughts.

So, personal branding is about what others think of you, and what you think of yourself. Celebrity is simply an indication of the number of people who have heard of your name, or brand.

Right now, you are a one-person walking, talking commodity that someone, somewhere, is passing judgement on.

Does that matter to you?

Of course it does. One of our main needs is to be liked – that’s not respected, not believed, not necessarily loved, but liked.

And this is decided by you, in the following order:

Who you are

What you do

What you say

So, do you want to take control of your personal brand, or do you want your personal brand to take control of you?

As Peter Montoya, the world’s number one personal brand in personal branding says:

“Imagine if you could influence how the leaders in your profession or company see you – as cutting-edge or conservative, a great listener or leader, and so on. That’s what Personal Branding does. With a Personal Brand, others don’t decide how you’re perceived.
You decide.

That’s power

This gives you control over your reputation, one half of personal branding.

And if you decide you are here for a bigger purpose, or perhaps if you need to earn a living in a competitive marketplace, you will need to look at your:


How well known are you?

This does not mean how many people do you know, or know you personally.

It means how many people have heard of your name and what do they associate it with.

Again, everyone will already have a certain reach, unless you live alone and never speak to anyone!

What can you do to take control of this?

The greater you decide your reach to be, more of these you must do…

  1. Purpose

Decide on your private and public purpose. They may be the same, or at least complementary. Only share your private purpose with   very trusted people, and only share your public purpose with the world.

  1. Presence

Treat everyone you meet with equal importance, making immediate rapport. They will like you if they feel you are showing them respect, and are interested in their number one priority in the world, which is themselves.

  1. Passion

When you think about what you do, and building a personal brand with reach, does your heart soar, or sour? Be proud of what you do – when you speak with passion, enthusiasm and with massive energy people buy into your ideas, and you.

So, each and every day:

When you feel passionate, speak with total passion about what you do


When you feel down, and low, speak with total passion about what you do

OK, those are three aspects of you, now for the critical one:

  1. Profile

Like it or not, reach = high profile. You need people to:

See you, hear you and above all else, talk about you…

And on profile:

Be prepared for “detractors” – the more you have, the more “supporters” you have, and the more your awareness is growing.

Be prepared to be called “big headed” or “arrogant” – this doesn’t mean that you should be either, but that is what you will be called by some people – usually because they are jealous.

Remember what Oscar Wilde said “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.


Be prepared to be called “mad” when you first embark on your adventure. These same people will call you “lucky” when you succeed.

To raise your reach:

*          Speak at conferences

*          Attend local community meetings and have your say

*          Network – see The Naked Leader or download at

*          Write a column in your chosen or target industry/sector journal, or in your in-company magazine

*          Attend social functions at work, and enjoy them!

*          Write letters to newspapers (you will be amazed how many people read the letters pages)

  1. Partnerships

Find people already in the areas you want to be in and partner with them, learn from them and help them. Partnerships of this kind are all about quid pro quo. So be honest with a partner about what you need to achieve your dream, and ask them the same question – and help them with sincerity.


  1. Precision

Focus everything you do on achieving your aims. Think about them every day. Yes, want them, but also reward yourself, and be thankful, every time you take a step towards them. Remember, when you are clear about who you are and where you are going, life will conspire to help you.


  1. Persistence

This is the deciding factor between success and failure in profile building and personal branding. There’s enough about this, throughout this book!

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