Personal Brand: Building & Protecting Yours Is Not Optional

I’ve spent the last few decades building a personal brand; first in broadcasting, then in professional speaking and consulting, and ultimately in the leadership, sports and entertainment fields. But when you’re carving out your own path, you’re often too busy following the compass to document every curve in the road, hill you climb, or even the major milestones.

Over the last month, I was twice asked to decode personal branding and share insights on my professional journey.  It started with the GamePlan podcast and a fun conversation with Vin McCaffrey, its founder. [Click here to listen to the podcast.] I shared specific insights about my work with NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal, corporate CEO’s, and my early work with former NFL superstar, Peyton Manning. On the podcast, you can hear the key questions I asked Peyton to help define his brand as he was moving from college to the NFL.  (Whether you’re a Millennial or a seasoned pro, test them on yourself.) On the surface the questions may seem simple, but give them some serious think-time, because the answers can be the basis for a clear and powerful personal brand.

I would love to hear your comments on which strategies or tactics are most adaptable for your brand.

Those memories from the Game Plan podcast triggered some of the content for a Reputation Management, Personal Branding and Social Media presentation I made at the ACC Career Development conference the following week.

In sports, we agonize over fans… including the brands we’re passionate about, how to grow fan bases, and the list goes on and on.  When we consult on fan development strategy and activation, we use what we call the “Fan Spectrum” to guide clients through a deep dive of their current and aspiring fan base (Future fans, Casual fans, Avid fans), and help them align their digital efforts and content to the best mix of fans. And it occurred to me that Fan Spectrum thinking doesn’t need to be confined to a team or athletic department strategy. It works for a personal brand as well.

Apply fan spectrum to your personal brand

Think of it in 2 steps:

  1. Do you need to attract more avid fans, or should you be focused on more casual and future fans? To what degree? Without bringing in new fans, even the most stellar brands will be diminished.
  2. Now determine the right balance of content and exposure that will help you attract the fans you want. Align, align, align your resources to achieve those your business goals.

Who are those personal (“avid”) fans of yours – possibly mentors, definitely champions – who you need to continue to cultivate? Your interactions should constantly remind them of why they got on your train in the first place.

Who are the “casual” fans who you can engage and ignite, moving them toward becoming vocal advocates on your behalf? And don’t forget “future” fans… you need to grow them as well.

Just like an institutional brand, building a personal brand requires that you develop an identity, expertise, and personality that has the visibility and credibility you need to climb whatever mountain lies ahead of you.

Oh, and yes – you need to measure that progress. So here’s our Digital Brand Scorecard to help gauge the strength of your brand today and how to build muscle along the journey.

 Digital brand scorecard for building your personal brand 

For more information about leveraging the Fan Spectrum for your organizational or personal brand or Reputation Management 3.0, contact me at or  call us at 704-541-5942.

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