We’re living in a staggeringly fast-moving world, and it’s only getting faster. There’s one thing that’s certain. In the world of personal brand building, the most significant piece is that irresistible spark of yours that stops people in their tracks. Without it, you’re invisible – a Dead Brand Walking.

It’s a tough trap. It’s never appealing to see a brand with the lights out, or when you can tell no one’s home. It’s a bit like Halloween. Remember the difference between the welcoming house all lit up with beaming faces at the front door? And then, remember that sorrowful dark house with the curtains drawn? Right.

In a lifeless state, brands just don’t function. Time to make some tweaks.

Time consuming and painful

Some people, however, are under the impression that making adjustments to an oxygen-deprived brand is difficult, time consuming and painful. It’s not.

It could be as simple as changing your mind. Acclaimed neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks, who as a physician treats patients with neurological conditions, wrote a piece that appeared on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on January 1. In This Year, Change Your Mind, Sacks addressed the brain’s mysterious and extraordinary power to learn, adapt and grow.

Challenging the brain is essential to cognitive fitness, according to Oliver Sacks. So thinking about an existing problem in a new way will stimulate your brain to change and grow.

Our brain’s plasticity – the capacity to create new pathways – can be a part of everyday life for each one of us, writes Dr. Sacks. “While it is often true that learning is easier in childhood, neuroscientists now know that the brain does not stop growing…”

In a salute to the New Year, here are 10 statements (not affirmations, statements) to help stimulate your brain and challenge your thinking about your personal brand to keep it active, agile, nimble and playful. (Say goodbye to any hint of Dead Brand Walking.) Please feel free to tweak, edit, adapt or add to the list.

  1. I am absolutely in the business of perception management.
  2. I pay attention to what feels real and right to me. (The best part? Inspiring others.)
  3. I love it when creative sparks fly.
  4. I now sense a generosity of spirit goes a very, very long way.
  5. Curiosity is my rocket fuel. (I have to find out more about the meaning of ‘allure.’)
  6. Negative messages (subliminal or otherwise) are no longer permitted in my vocabulary.
  7. What I do is valuable. I am making a substantial difference in the world.
  8. My personal brand attracts attention, people and opportunities like crazy. (I like that.)
  9. I challenge my thinking. (It’s essential for my brand’s fitness.)
  10. I can do it. (You bet, I can.)


Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter