I hear the phrase “personal brand” and I roll my eyes. I roll my eyes so hard that I’m surprised I haven’t strained an eye muscle yet.
The world is obsessed with branding. Humans are obsessed with branding.
I used to think of branding as something that big companies did — companies like Disney and Apple and, I don’t know, Coca Cola. It was about corporations, not people.
And now, we’ve adopted the phrase “personal brand” into everyday vernacular. People worry about their Instagram feeds being “on brand.” Taking photos is “on brand.” What you do and where you work out and what you eat is now a part of your brand.
Excuse me while I roll my eyes again.
I fear we’re starting to care more about our brands than one another. I fear that we’re starting to care more about our personal brands than our relationships, our friendships, and what we’re pouring into this world.
That’s been my gripe.
But then I was listening to The Start Today Morning Show with Dave Hollis, CEO of the Hollis Company and husband to the businesswoman mastermind Rachel Hollis, when Dave said something that I’ve been replaying over and over again in my head: “Think of your personal brand as your reputation.”
Okay. Now that’s something I can get behind.
Too often, we think of a personal brand in terms of quote cards and stylized outfits and Lightroom presets when, in actuality, we should be thinking about it as a reputation.
What do people think of when they think of you? How do you make people feel when you walk into a room? Do you put them at ease or are they anxious? Are you known for listening well? Are you known for being a great leader? Do you make people feel seen? Heard? Loved?
People will forget what Instagram filter you used or how your feeds were curated. They will not care about what trips you took or the jobs you booked. They won’t remember your carefully planned outfit, but they will remember what they felt like in your presence.
But they will remember your kindness.
They will remember your compassion.
They will remember if you were an empathetic individual.
They will remember if you made them feel seen, and heard, and loved — and that is your legacy.
That is your reputation.
That is the most important thing about your brand.