Personal Brand is Who You Ain’t

Personal BrandQuite frequently your personal brand is not what you feel, think or believe in your heart of hearts. It is not your dream.

Brand is the sum total perceptions of all those people who think, feel or believe they know you. Your brand is the outcome of the trust they have in you. It is their dream, not yours.

Sometimes what you want to be is at odds with everything they know (or think they know) about you.

How do you:

  • Use what they believe about you to change their view?
  • Give them reasons to believe the difference?
  • Provide visual, verbal and implied touch experience to convince them?

How do you persuade them to believe who you ain’t?

There is an elegant example of this currently being revealed on social media. Here is the video: (Click here to view)Malkovich Video stillAs Mr. Malkovich says in the video, “I am always the figure in someone else’s dream. I would really rather sometimes make my own figures and make my own dreams”.

Personal Brand is about how you control that dream. They won’t change unless you show them a different picture of yourself. They won’t have insight into your real character until they’ve observed it. They won’t change their opinion until they experience the new you.

Details of the John Malkovich story are at I’m sure we’ll see Mr. Malkovich in conjunction with another film or stage play but will it be as actor, or director or costume designer? He has been all three. But now, it appears he wants us to see him as a men’s fashion designer.

This is not some stunt dreamed up by a publicity agent. It is a well-crafted high-budget brand development campaign on a good-sized budget that incorporates video, a social media campaign and a connection with a design-oriented do-it-yourself website development company.

That connection is with SquareSpace and is the first entry in their “Make Your Next Move” campaign.

According to Ad Age, David Lee, chief creative officer, Squarespace said, “The campaign is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for anything less than anything you want to do.”

Squarespace worked with JohnXHannes, a creative collective based in New York, to develop and produce the campaign. The campaign was produced by Smuggler and Flower Ave., directed by Miles Jay and photography by Zach Gold.

What is important here for you is making the commitment to be your Personal Brand.

Decide if you need to shift the way you dress or the look feel and photography of your on-line persona.

Think through how you might extend your reach among the people you want to convince with joint promotions or strategic partnerships.

Most of all, be sure the “why” of what you’re planning is something you can wear consistently until it is time, once again to make a change.


Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


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About Jerry Fletcher

Jerry is the CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. which he founded in 1990. He is an expert at business development and has changed the way the way new business is acquired and introduced on three continents. He is known to meet with clients in dining rooms and boardrooms. He stopped counting successful introductions of new products at 207.