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Your Personal Brand Doesn’t Belong to You


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.

Image courtesy of Earth and Eden

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Love that pic! Very clever!

    Very good point, haven’t heard it expressed before.

  • Meghan says:

    One if my FAVORITE english teachers used to give us poetry assignments & never grade them. If we did it we got credit it for it, that was it. Because, she would always say, “Poetry is never wrong.” Great post! Can always count on you for a dash of inspiration to end the day. I think I might go visit my poetry blog, it’s been awhile. ;-)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Meghan – I love that. I think as a ‘blog teacher’ I would say the same…Shame on the folks right and wronging out there…It’s personal, even if it’s business.

  • Sandra Foyt says:

    Interesting notion. I never thought of it that way. No matter how much you may try to address your audience, you can never fully anticipate how they will interpret your material based on their own experiences. I guess the writer just has to go allow for that latitude, can’t really do anything about it.

  • Dan Schawbel says:

    Great post title you have here. I think you can manipulate your personal brand, in such a way that people have the right impression of you. You need to figure out who you are and consistently communicate that to others people.

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