No Such Thing as Personal Branding Secret Sauce

Personal Branding

I am so very lucky.  I have the opportunity to travel the country and speak about personal branding to a variety of people from various teams, groups and organizations.  It is a topic that I am passionate about and one that I can speak about based on my journey as well as others.

Invariably, one of the first questions asked during my presentations this past year was by someone looking for the “secret sauce” to enhancing their personal brand.   What is that one thing that he/she can do to elevate their personal brand over the next 12 months?  The endless search for a key ingredient that will provide instant clarity, purpose and results is all that they need.  I only wish it were that easy as if a personal brand was a piece of software that could be downloaded, installed and run with just a few keystrokes.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is no “secret sauce”.  If your mission is to find the plug and play solution for a bulletproof personal brand then I suggest you stop reading this post right now.  It is a grind and one that requires work, commitment, passion and courage to live on the edge sometimes.  It is a bit like standing in a dark and unfamiliar room unable to find a light switch.  It is both scary and an adventure all at the same time.  That said,  I will serve as your cruise director for your maiden voyage in 2012 as you work on developing You Inc. across these choppy seas.  Welcome to the Good Ship lollipop!

Now that I have stuck my finger in your Cheerios and have your attention, let us discuss what you can do in 2012.:

  1. First, make sure you are extremely comfortable in your own skin and are able to articulate what you do, how and why.  Take some time to really think about this one, especially the “why you” piece.  Ideally, you should be to describe your personal value proposition in a tweet (140 characters).  Longer than that and most people are bored and will begin to tune you out.
  2. Second, people no longer have an interest in buying things but do have an interest in joining things.  Are you building a community that offers real value to people?  You must bring others with you. If not, get a clue or do something else.
  3. Third, I learned this one from fellow speaker, Scott Stratten, who shared with me one of the reasons for his meteoric rise in the social media universe.  “Awesome spreads” is what he told me whether it be blog posts, videos, workshops, tweets, website giveaways etc… If you can create an authentic experience that pulls the Band-Aid off a few wounds, people will stand up and notice.  Sit on the sidelines and regurgitate the same rhetoric as everyone else and you too can bite down on a sandwich filled with heartache, frustration and mediocrity.

Developing an authentic personal brand is not easy but it is possible!  All good things must end and so must this week’s post but I do look forward to another trip together.  In the interimspend less time selling and more time creating memories in the minds of your followers, teammates and customers.  Your mission is to be different, talk different, ask different questions and be more prepared than anyone else in your space to create VALUE.


Devin Hughes, The Chief Inspiration Officer is a former college basketball player, sales, marketing, leadership and personal branding aficionado, professional speaker, and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations as a catalyst for meaningful change.  He is a graduate of Colgate University; he lives in Southern California with his wife and four daughters.  Follow him on Twitter.  Connect with him on Facebook and Linkedin. His website is  He is available upon request for consultation.