By Jon Michail

The notion of ‘personal’ branding, where the concept of branding is employed by the individual with regards to themselves, is often thought of as selfish, ego-stroking, narcissistic self-promotion designed to sway people into buying whatever they’re selling… and yes, that’s partly true.

Anyone that wants to influence in life must sell something along the way (products, service, idea etc.).

However, what most people don’t realise is, personal branding is a tool that’s absolutely necessary if the full extent of one’s potential is going to be reached, if their career is going to experience prolonged prosperity, or if the perception others have for them is going to adequately represent what that person offers society.

For those who carry the title of executive, personal branding can be especially useful, and is — whether executives consciously thought about it or not — largely responsible for their occupation of that position in the first place.

Personal branding is not designed to be shameless self-promotion, nor is it a mere optional addition to one’s reach for success; in fact, many people agree that in this volatile job climate, having a well thought out, well executed personal branding initiative often means the difference between attaining the positions you seek, and falling short of what you intend to accomplish.

All executives have a brand

An executive whose position rests upon the perception others hold of them, owes everything to the concept of personal branding. An executive whose success is attached to their name, has a brand. They may not have branding (the process of brand)… but they have a brand (positive or negative).

A brand is made up of how you interact with your employees and business contemporaries, how you carry yourself, how you dress, your values, your personality, and the competence you show throughout your working life. It is the type of social network profiles you espouse, it is the style of emails you compose, and who you choose to build relationships with.

Accomplishments are both tied to a brand’s legacy, and built off of the establishment of the brand: to take control of one’s brand, to have a conscious eye on its development, means to have a say in where your career is heading.

It’s not just a buzzword

Personal branding isn’t a fad because suddenly every man and his dog in espousing it, soon to die out of the public’s vocabulary: it is a planned and constructed way of outlining your attributes and the ideals you hold, to the world.

A well-executed personal branding program means people know exactly what to expect of you and correctly assume what you’re about. It means people know who you are, and are given this information with the least amount of misrepresentation or miscommunication possible.

This means the difference between getting a sought after position or promotion over someone else who didn’t employ the correct usage of branding, and by referencing one study that claims the average tenure of executives declined from 10 to 8 years between 2000 and 2010, it becomes starkly apparent that it is crucial for executives to use every tool at their disposal — branding being perhaps the most valuable of these tools.

Personal branding isn’t optional, it is essential, to every executives repertoire, and like Tom Peters said “we are the CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc” executives have to be CEOs of both themselves, and the respective outside companies they serve.


Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.

He has been a  regular commentator in international media including ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.

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