Roberta Guise’s Personal Branding and Reputation Manifesto

It’s always a good time to work on your personal brand,
because your reputation depends on it. Here’s what I mean.

People have opinions about you, what they think you do, and what motivates you. That’s a huge aspect of your reputation. You can’t control how people perceive you, but you can intentionally, purposefully work to make sure how people perceive you is how you want to be perceived. That what they think you do and are expert in, is what you want to be known for.

I believe that with intention, anyone can make their mark and have a positive impact. Personal branding is the tool and platform for this. Some people will innovate. Others will disrupt. A few will be founders. And there are those who will stand out in the workplace for their creativity, special leadership abilities, or for making sure the work that needs to be done gets done. Most are, or become, deeply knowledgeable about SOMETHING. What is your something?

You may have heard that your personal brand is your LinkedIn profile, plus how you dress, and speak, and show up. All true.

Search “personal branding” and you’ll find experts saying your personal brand is about you: who you really are, who you serve, and your competition. Also true.

There are naysayers who recoil at the notion of personal branding. One stands out. The author of an article in Psychology Today bristles at the term “personal brand,” feeling it commoditizes the person, that you could be falsifying who you are, that a strong personal brand is limiting, and that if you find you need a personal brand it’s a sign of weakness.

This is codswallop. It doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Here’s my opinion. Envision yourself as a messenger with ideas and concepts to communicate, because you want to make a difference. Your personal brand is the platform through which you present your ideas to people who need to hear them, so that they can act on them or change their behavior, or think differently about something you know a lot about.

As you develop your personal brand, you’ll increasingly embody these seven invaluable traits that will manifest as your reputation:

  1. Marked differentiation from your peers

  2. Proven ability to influence

  3. Developed a values statement that’s relevant and resonates

  4. Know your value to your profession or company

  5. Intention and clarity about what you want to be known for and how you make a difference

  6. Intention and clarity about the reputation you want to develop and how you want to be perceived

  7. An expanding and accelerating thought leadership footprint

So dare to get out of your comfort zone and imagine what your personal brand can do for you. It can do a lot.

If you feel even slightly hesitant for any reason to develop your brand, consider my story.

I swim in San Francisco Bay. It took all my mental metal to splash in the first few times I tried, because it hurt like heck. But it got easier each time I jumped in.

The water is cold in summer, and feels like hitting bricks in winter. Even with decades of cold water swimming it’s sometimes hard for my body to handle the cold. When that happens, I remember and trust that my body knows what to do.

So don’t let yourself fear being more visible, or hold back expressing your ideas in a broad public forum. We need to hear your voice! Fear is our strongest emotion. We give it less power when we practice realizing it’s something we create within us, and that we can quiet it.

Back to swimming in San Francisco Bay: it’s become the second love of my life—I’m in it 4-5 times a week, year ‘round. And there’s one more related story I’d like to share with you.

It’s the first love of my life, whom I met swimming in the bay. There’s even a “cold water romance” story about it, featured on National Public Radio: Scroll under the short video for the 5-minute audio podcast. Enjoy!