Personal Brand: What's on your chalkboard?

Twitter: @BenjaminMcCall
Website: http://ReThinkHR.org

When I was in College obtaining my first degree I worked with students. I was a Diversity Advocate and later became a Resident Assistant and Residence Life Coordinator within the dormitories of the university. This was probably the subconscious start to my career within HR and Learning Development.

I was an RA for 3 summers for a summer program called Groups, in which I also began my career. I still have much respect for the program. At some point in the beginning of the programs I would hold an orientation that many students would attend to ask questions, and address what they would face in their transition from High School to College life.

The Example I Used was this: Think about your life as a chalk board. In high school you had friends, classes, grades that you built up from the time you were in middle school. A reputation if you can imagine. Your teachers, family, friends all had opinions of your ethics, school work and personality. Now think of all the actions and activities you did. All through your schooling, you wrote on that chalk board that is was your life. Everyone could see who you were, how you acted, what you weren’t, etc. etc. By the time you left high school it was filled for all to see.

Now you’re in college. Most people here do not know you. Your parents aren’t around to watch you from day to day. You have new teachers and acquaintances. You have a chance to erase that chalkboard and start over fresh. The difference now is that what you write on your board could become more permanent. What will you write on your board?

I tell this story to say that what you project is important.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a Brand as:

1 a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty>

2 a : a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer : make b : a characteristic or distinctive kind <a lively brand of theater> c : brand name 2

"What's the impression you leave"


Interesting information don’t you think? Merriam’s would lead you to the assumption that a Brand is not only actions taken, but something that could be considered permanent. Now Seth Godin is considered one of the definitive guru’s on branding and social media. There are plenty of others but when his name is brought up, people think: branding, social media, innovation, etc. etc.

Seth’s definition of a BRAND is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.

Another interesting definition would you agree. My simple thought would be whether you like it or not, you have a brand. The way you walk, what you say, how you interact with the people around you and those you barely have contact with.

The Equation: Who you are + How you act + Someone’s Perception = Your Brand.

Many of us would disagree. Yet there is much truth to this. In an age where we have loads of personal and professional information being interconnected and advertised. Being passed across blogs, social media, chat streams, blog talk radio and everyday within limited/extrapolated interactions; we have and project a brand that burns itself into the people that we come across.

"today you are you, that is truer than true. there is no one alive who is youer than you." Dr. Suess


Whether you own up to the Brand-That-Is-You does not matter. There are those that will make decisions and assumptions based on that brand. It could be in an interview, at a networking event, in an employee intervention, or with your family in the confines of your own home. Regardless think about the impression that you leave. Think about what you write on your chalk board.

NOTE: I have been a writer for more than 9 years. I started blogging by writing poetry and short stories. Much of who I am is introspective and brash with a kind of self-conscious confidence. I am a smart ass that apologizes quickly. My personal feeling is that many people are like this, but often not honest about it.

Views: 835

Tags: Brand, Branding, ChalkBoard, HR, Perception, Personal, You

Comment by Benjamin McCall on January 27, 2010 at 11:35am
Thank you very much Mrs. Hogan!! I feel lucky that I am featured twice in a row :)
I have always felt that people are inconsistently consistent and vice versa. That while we do not enjoy the politics of life, we can't help but be caught up in them. We are all politicians.
I have always tend to give people the benefit of the doubt before I give up on them. "Give people your respect, until they no longer deserve it!"

Perception is Reality... Perception is not Reality...
Thank you for your thoughts!
Comment by Slouch on January 27, 2010 at 11:44am
Make another video. I loved the first one you did.
Comment by Benjamin McCall on January 27, 2010 at 11:53am
:) will do. Got to think about a topic for the next one!!!
Comment by Benjamin McCall on January 27, 2010 at 1:10pm
Thank you for your response. I guess I should add and clarify that we can help and shape our image we must understand that anyone can mislead what our image is.

Thanks again!
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on January 28, 2010 at 11:12am
Wow, this is deep and very true. I'd also say we have to be careful to keep an eye on what others are writing on our chalk board (i.e. 'brand monitoring, if you will). I'm not normally one to do the old 'surface-networking' "Great Post!" comment because I prefer conversation to bobble-heading.

However, once in a while, I find a post that is so well done that all I can say is . . .

"Great Post!"

Well done, Benjamin - Seriously, awesome work and I'm looking forward to reading more. I'm now a fan :)

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