Approximately 15 years ago, Tom Peters wrote “The Brand Called You” in Fast Company.   At the time, it seemed an odd concept of sorts in connecting the term “brand” with an individual(s).  Looking back, his seminal work ignited a conversation that is pervasive today as personal branding is one of the hottest topics in the digital age in my humble opinion.   That said, there are still those who choose to ignore the enormous power of a well-manicured personal brand.  I travel and speak all over the country and I still get looks of bewilderment when I speak about the topic.

Even in this era of ubiquitous social media, could it be that some are actually choosing to ignore the power of this platform.  I bounce back and forth between confusion and frustration when confronted with an unwillingness to do something different.  Is change that difficult?  What do so many not understand?  In the interim, I remain committed to educating the misinformed about its virtues. Everyone has a personal brand whether they acknowledge it or not.  One does not have a choice of having or not having a personal brand.  It includes both one’s personal and professional reputations.  Personal branding is intentionally influencing how the world sees you.  Are you skeptical?  I told the CEO of a local print company just the other day “Go ahead and search your name in Google and see what comes up.   At that very moment, a judgment is being made about your personal brand.”  Every interaction contributes to one’s personal brand — enhancing or detracting from it.  Look no farther than former Presidential candidate, Hermain Cain.  Enough said on that one, as I am sure you get the point.

YOU have a choice in whether you wish to influence how the market views you, your experience, and core competencies or let the market define who you are.  I suspect that you may want to be a part of the conversation.  At least, I hope so for your benefit.   Do you stand out? Are you memorable?  What makes your different?  Mark Twain said it best, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”  If your success depends on connecting with others and building strong value added relationships then personal branding is an absolute “must have” for long-term success.

It is about progress not perfection!


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.