Personal Branding (or, Not Wearing PJs to Gelson’s)

Author: Admin User | February 14, 2012

I attended a networking event this morning and heard Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Chief Marketing Officer with Greenburg Glusker, give a presentation on personal branding. Mr. Fitzgarrald opened the presentation by showing us photos of people almost anyone would recognize: Oprah, Lindsay Lohan, “The Situation” from Jersey Shore, etc. He asked everyone, first, to blurt out the initial thought they had when they saw these pictures and, second, if that impression had changed over time. The group was unanimous in the words it used to describe these people: The celebrities clearly had personal brands. This exercise was designed to show that personal branding exists, and that the impressions we make on our clients, friends, co-workers, etc., create a reputation and make a difference.

One key part of Mr. Fitzgarrald’s presentation concerned likeability. Being likable, Mr. Fitzgerrald said, is one of the top factors that create your reputation and personal brand. I thought this was very interesting. We’re always trying to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Many of us focus on providing high-quality service, a personal touch, even alternative fee arrangements; being likable is not among the first five items on the list. Likeability comes down to being genuinely interested in what people are saying—listening more than you talk and really adding something to the conversation.I attended a networking event this morning and heard Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Chief Marketing Officer with Greenburg Glusker, give a presentation on personal branding. Mr. Fitzgarrald opened the presentation by showing us photos of people almost anyone would recognize: Oprah, Lindsay Lohan, “The Situation” from Jersey Shore, etc. He asked everyone, first, to blurt out the initial thought they had when they saw these pictures and, second, if that impression had changed over time. The group was unanimous in the words it used to describe these people: The celebrities clearly had personal brands. This exercise was designed to show that personal branding exists, and that the impressions we make on our clients, friends, co-workers, etc., create a reputation and make a difference.

Mr. Fitzgarrald closed with a personal story about how, when he and his five siblings would get too noisy while out to dinner with his parents, his dad would lean over and say, “People are watching.” The moral was that we should always bear in mind that “people are watching,” treating everybody (regardless of their professional stature) as if we were being judged on it. We should also behave consistently, Mr. Fitzgarrald said—dressing decently even to go grocery shopping, for example. What if you ran into a prospective client in your pajamas? Our behavior, even at the supermarket, plays into our personal brand.

What do you think of your personal brand?

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