No matter how hard you work to build your personal brand, it won’t be airtight. Not everyone will get the impression you’re hoping to express.
Do you remember English class back in the day? One of my all time favorite teachers, Miss Riddle – swear to god, ask my mother – is the one that first implanted the concept of poetry on my brain. Not the rhyming or the rhythms – but the meaning of the poetry. And then, Dr. Puhr – the one who turned me into a feminist – explored the meaning of prose, of stories, of novels.
Both of these women showed me that, when interpreting someone’s writing, there is no one answer and essentially there is no wrong answer. The color purple could represent the heart of a woman, the ‘fount’ of a woman, bruises, emotion, the sky, femaleness. It could be just one of those things or it could be all of them, to another reader it could represent something that you and I – even Alice Walker – never dreamed of.
The analysis, the interpretation – all depends on us. As readers and be-ers, we attach our histories, our very souls, our experiences to what we read and see. And from there we create our own understanding. It may not be what the writer intended – but it isn’t wrong. It’s real. As in ‘interpreter-based’ reality.
When you’re creating your identity for your self, your business, your work – you, just like a writer, craft your words and your message with a specific intention and meaning. But your clients and customers, just like readers, will bring themselves fully and without excuse to their interpretation of who you are and what you represent.
Your personal brand, therefore, is not singular or definitive – and I’d hardly call it your own.