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Building A Personal Brand

A few months ago during a talk at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business I was asked on how one goes about building a personal brand.

After some thought I noted that successful brand stand for something and have finely honed positions. Therefore I suggested an exercise to develop such brand positions.

Identify three words that uniquely define your NICHE. Another three that reflect your VOICE and a final three that tell your STORY.

Do this with and without alcohol. Do this by yourself and then share with friends or have friends and colleagues create them for you.

Look over each of the three words, a total of nine and ask if they describe you, what you stand for and whether they provide an edge in a world of abundant blah!

Its more difficult than it looks. Try it.

If you are happy with the nine words can you now get down to three? One for niche. One for voice and one for story?

And in the end can you get down to a single word?

I have tried the exercise on myself and with input from folks who know me have determined the three words that describe my niche are FUTURE, CHANGE and INNOVATION. The three words that describe my Voice are AUTHENTIC, PROVOCATIVE, INSPIRATIONAL and the words that detail my story are TALENT (surrounded by talented people), MONGREL ( a hybrid career of this and that) and REINVENTING.

If there were three words they would be FUTURE, PROVOCATIVE and REINVENTING

And if there was one word it would be REINVENTING.
‘[tweetmeme source=”yourtwittername” only_single=false]’

15 comments on “Building A Personal Brand

  1. Rishad, great excercise — I enjoyed sorting through this over the holidays with some helpful commentary from family and friends.

    Look forward to meeting you one day.



  2. ok… so I thought I almost it down to one. Today, I’m back up to 3, but I have yet to try it with alcohol:


  3. Carla Gates says:

    Thought-provoking exercise! Still working on it….

  4. amit kadam says:

    Rishad, Very interesting exercise. What does reflect your voice refer to. The nature of your public speaking or general conversation with others?

    1. rishadt says:

      It is who people believe you are when they describe you as a person. Therefore conversational.

  5. Caterina says:

    Interesting exercise! Will do it this weekend 🙂

  6. Brian M says:

    Interesting exercise. How do you think it differs for, say, a media brand? I’m selfishly asking because we’re in the middle of doing this. I came up with three words for Digiday: authority, insight, honesty. Our one word: honesty.

  7. ChilliBox says:

    Reblogged this on ChilliBox and commented:
    Excellent post by Rishad Tobacowala on building a personal brand. I am going to go do this exercise and see what I find for myself and if I can use to build a theme for my admission essays.
    Funny story, I stumbled upon this while reading some old post from EssaySnark. This kind of reminds me of my first post of Joy Bone, but more lean and focused.
    Yours Truly

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    which helped me. Cheers!

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