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Do Personal Brands Matter?

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

Many of you have asked me about the differences between personal and business newsletters, websites, and branding.

There must be something in the air, because I’ve seen a lot of content spring up around the subject lately, including from Gary Vee, Seth Godin (in multiple new interviews), and Copyblogger.

I figured it was time to go back to some foundational principles to get clarity, because most of the advice is a little too in-the-weeds and for most readers.

  1. A brand is just a reputation. In fact, I’ve learned to just replace “brand” in my head with “reputation” whenever I read or hear it.
  2. Everyone, and every business, has a reputation. You don’t have a choice.
  3. You’re not in charge of your reputation. Others are. It’s a byproduct. You can only attempt to influence it. Those inside attempts can also be called, “branding.”
  4. The most effective changes to your reputation come from the ground up, by being honest, kind, and consistent. It’s the same for businesses, even if businesses often believe a new coat of paint will cover up years of dishonest behavior and inconsistent service.
  5. A personal reputation is a long-term investment.
  6. A business’s reputation is, by definition, going to be your shorter-term investment. Your life will be longer than your involvement in any one business.
  7. You will likely derive immediate, direct benefits from a business’s reputation.
  8. You will derive lifelong benefits from your personal reputation.

Both kinds of reputations are important. But a personal brand matters more than a business brand.

That doesn’t mean you should pour all your efforts into your personal brand, though. That’s not how byproducts work.

It doesn’t take much work to be honest and kind in both arenas.