Personal Branding is a Contact Sport

Personal Branding

In the age of ubiquitous social media, I find that so many people lose sight of the fact that developing a personal brand involves real relationships with actual human beings.  Technology has become “comfort food” for far too many of us in developing Me Inc. similar to popcorn at a movie theater.  It is so easy to become enamored with the number of connections and followers we have across social networks.  We feel the need to tell the whole world how many Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections we have as if this is something to brag about, but lack any real and meaningful relationships with any of them.

Building your personal brand on an island is okay if your name is Gilligan.  Otherwise, I might suggest that you spend some time each week actually getting to know some of the folks that you are connected to on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Actually, do yourself a favor and make sure you are comfortable in your own skin before you attempt to sell your brand to the rest of the world.  Here are a some suggestions to keep you on the yellow brick road.

  1. Amongst all the clutter in the marketplace, something as small as following up when you say you will or saying “thank you” matters more than some might suggest. It is easy to discount the small stuff in our race for more, more, more… Your mission is to make everyone feel valued that you meet online and in person.   The little stuff does matter!
  2. Take some time to understand and work with all sorts of people who cross your radar screen.  Make people feel important while educating them on what you hope to accomplish but also spending some time to learn about their goals and aspirations. Ask insightful questions, listen, learn, grow and observe daily what people in your network are doing, reading and sharing.  Is it too much to ask to be genuinely interested in someone else success?  I hope not for your sake.
  3. Never underestimate another person’s power or ability to help you. You never know where “that” relationship may take you. I learned this one the hard way.  Take an interest in others and they will take an interest in you.
  4. Form a network of peers and mentors that will provide you with unfiltered feedback about your brand, messaging, career path etc….  Feedback is a gift!  Mark Twain said it best, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”.

“One of the marks of true greatness is the ability to develop greatness in others.”  – J.C. McCauley


Devin Hughes, The Chief Inspiration Officer is a former college basketball player, sales, marketing and personal branding aficionado, professional speaker, part-time academic 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.