Building A 3D Personal Brand

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Anna Farmery over at The Engaging Brand Blog and Podcast had this post: 3D Is The Place To Be! yesterday. The post was inspired by a conversation (and Podcast) she conducted with Jason Alba of Jibber Jobber – a Blog about building your career. Their discussion revolved around the idea of giving both personal and corporate brands a more “3 dimensional feel.” The concept of a 3D feeling sparked some great ideas by Farmery and she wanted my take on it. Instead of just commenting on her Blog, I decided to create my own post about it (there’s already tons of juice in hers).
Some of my macro thoughts on Personal Branding are not about what you want your brand to be, but rather about defining what your personal brand already is (and making sure that you are able to communicate that core effectively). This is the paradox of personal branding. All too often we read materials that give us great tips and tricks on how to do things differently – to make a bigger splash. That’s not of interest to me. If you have to do things differently, then clearly this is not who you are or what your personal brand truly is. That being said, we all must be able to take this excellent information and modulate it so that it fits with our own, unique, personal brand.
As for the three dimensional aspect: how do you make a personal (or corporate) brand resonate over and above a CV, billboard ad or press? How do you make a personal brand come to life?
Here are my thoughts:
1. Give abundantly. The best way to build a personal brand is to give your knowledge away. To be highly concerned about others and to stay in their loop. It’s the ability to go for a job interview and not worry about what they can do for you, but rather doing your homework and research and knowing what you can do for them. Imagine going for a job interview and realizing that it’s not the perfect fit for you, and referring them to someone who you think would be perfect for the job? That’s personal branding.
2. Help others. When you go to a networking event and you start meeting a variety of people, stop worrying about how they can help you, but start thinking about who you know in your network that can help them.
3. Relationships. We all know how important the idea of “conversation” is in this Web 2.0 – Social Media revolution. I’m the first to drink my own bath water on this. But, it’s all about creating real relationships. Conversations are important but if you don’t nurture a true relationship, it’s just a bunch of gums flapping. Build your personal brand by building strong relationships.
Maybe Anna wanted more tangible tactics for how to build better three-dimensional personal brands?
I don’t have tactics.
I believe that words are a small fraction of the communications game. There’s that old saying that words account for only seven percent of the communications that you have with somebody. In my world, that translates as: “your personal brand is screaming so loudly, I can hardly hear a word you are saying.”
How can you build a better three-dimensional personal brand? Understand who you are. Know what you stand for. Do something everyday to make sure that your actions (and words) speak as loud as your personal brand already is.


  1. Mitch – hope you are feeling better and just knew you would add to the conversation – my little personal branding guru, you!
    The seed for this was the discussion with Jason and when you think about how you “market” your talent it can be very one dimensional. I agree with the great thoughts above and that makes me wonder how do you bring this together into a “talent bundle” that shows a prospective or an existing employer all the dimensions? You know that I believe employers should re recruit an employee on a regular basis and I think this goes for the individual as well. If you are a Mitch groupie (!) and doing some of these things then how do you ensure that the people around you are reminded of your talent and continuing development.
    Also with the employer I think they need to think of themselves as a “corporate personality” and do the same….when I think of Virgin and SouthWest…they do a great job of creating a multi dimensional employer brand,
    Great post…as I knew it would be!

  2. nice points although you do seem to assume that giving, helping or relationships are enough to build brand. i think you have to go back to the basics. a brand, be it a product or a person, must have unique characteristics, its own values, mindset and way of life. an average guy with average value would have a hard time becoming a brand. however, if you have a truly great mix of these factors, building a brand becomes a no-brainer. you will be doing them automatically, teaching, explaining, relating… i would say they are a side-effect of your overall actions

  3. great addition to the dialogue. I like how you say in your first point at the end “that’s personal branding” … because you are branding yourself as someone that is unselfish, giving, etc. And its true.
    I don’t agree with trying to figure out what your brand is and then working on making that more apparent (as per your “macro” comment. I think too many people want to be or do something else – and they should work towards the brand that they want to have.
    I could be wrong – I’m no expert – but it sure is a fun topic 🙂

  4. Thanks for your comments. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to envision an aspirational personal brand. I think the challenge is in trying to have that aspiration before you truly know who you are, what you stand and what your values and beliefs are.
    Trying to be something that you’re not is not personal branding… to me. The big discussions around personal branding usually are, “how to get others to like me.”
    I’m cut from a different cloth.
    I believe true power in personal branding is understanding your uniqueness and aligning yourself with others who are likely to be interested by that type of personal brand.
    Agreed, it’s counter to the common, “how to get someone to like you,” model, but I believe that as the world flattens, a personal brand is one of the few things that will remain unique and powerful. If that is the way things roll out, my hopes are that a person’s brand is authentic and not fabricated for the wrong reasons.

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