5 reasons why other people will spread your personal brand

Shutterstock_18268654 I was part of a panel (with Claire Celsi, Nathan T. Wright & Dr. David Bulla) talking to journalists about personal branding this morning.

Part of my message was that it's fine and dandy to have a personal brand…but one of the keys to its success is in how you share your brand with the world. I used the analogy of a dandelion.

Once you figure out what your personal brand is all about….you hold it out to the world, like a dandelion.

Sure…the wind will gently blow some of the seeds along, letting them land somewhere and take root.  But…if you really want your personal brand to be spread far and near…you need other people.

When someone holds a dandelion close to their mouth and gives a big blow….those seeds go everywhere.  What would make someone want to use some of their power and influence to help spread your personal brand? 

Here are five reasons why someone else might make the effort to spread your personal brand:

Are you a go-giver?  Do you share what you know and have? 

People tend to want to help those people who help others.  If people know that you're not a taker, they're going to be more inclined to serve you up to their friends and colleagues.

Are you a credible resource?

Do you actually have something to say that is real, relevant and of value?  In today's world, one of the currencies that is most valued is relevance.  You need to be someone who walks their talk to earn that credibility.

Are you consistent and reliable? 

People only have so much "connection currency."  So they don't want to waste it by introducing the world (or their contacts) to someone who is wishy washy or doesn't honor their promises.  If I help set up a meeting between two people and one of them cancels at the last minute or is a no show…some of that bad karma rubs off on me. 

Are you real? 

If your personal brand is something you put on and take off like a hat — why would someone run the risk of exposing you to their network?    There are many posers (as Steve Farber calls them) out there.  Don't be one of them.

Are you grateful? 

When someone goes out of their way to feature you on their blog or use one of their connections to help you — do you say thank you?  Do you look for ways you can return the favor?  Do you make them look good by treating that gesture as a gift rather than an obligation or entitlement?

There you have it.  If you want others to help introduce you and your personal brand to the world…be the kind of person who makes that easy and enjoyable! 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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34 comments on “5 reasons why other people will spread your personal brand

  1. Jann Freed says:

    Drew–Love this post. Thanks for sharing. A great message for everyone to remember. I will also share this with my students. Looking forward to connecting with you in January. Thanks. Happy holidays to you.

  2. Jann,

    I hope your students find it helpful! Enjoy your holidays as well!


  3. Pete Jones says:

    Great analogy Drew. I have seen people stress out about building their own personal brand and fail to realize the importance of their peers and for recommendations like you mention above.

  4. I think it is important to sometimes take a step back and realize that you have to give in order for people to talk. If you give the right way you can really spread the word of mouth for your brand.

  5. michelle engler says:

    I was a non-student/non-journalism attendee at your presentation.
    I thouroughly enjoyed the event and came away with such great info and motivation. you and the rest of the panel were really great.
    thanks for sharing your expertise

  6. Drew, Saturday morning was a blast, let’s do it again! Thanks always for sharing, keeping the “personal branding” insights grounded and relevant, and being a pioneer in Des Moines!

  7. Pete,

    It’s not a case of “if you build it, they will come.” You need to be relevant and worthy of being shared!


  8. Nick,

    I could not agree with you more! I see no down side in always being the first to give a little.

    I think it sets the tone for the relationship and immediately earns you credibility.


  9. Michelle,

    I’m glad (and relieved) that you found it of value, even though some of the comments were not directly tied to your profession.

    Thanks for coming out and sharing your morning with us!


  10. Nathan,

    I’m always happy to share the stage with you. Thanks for having a personal brand that’s so easy to share with others!


  11. Excellent analysis and summary, Drew. Exactly the principles that have helped me personally. Once again, EXCELLENT post!

  12. Dan Collins says:


    This is an excellent post – succinct, focused and very, very relevant.


    Dan Collins
    Chief Operating Officer

  13. Fantastic post! I think that it is easy for some to forget to be real and grateful. I really like the dandilion analogy as well.

  14. Drew,
    As a Career Coach and Training Coordinator, I teach approximately 150 dislocated workers per week. This blog is excellent – and a perfect fit for my new Social Media and Career Success workshop series, as I teach on developing your personal brand. Expect to see this retweeted and dropped into my FB Fan Page!

    Excellent work! Thank you – @heatherecoleman.

  15. Jann says:

    Drew, I love your 5 reason’s why others will spread your personal brand. I’ve linked it to the denovo fan page I liked it so much. Did a quick audit on myself to see how I stacked up against the five points.


  16. Brian Smith says:


    Thanks for coming to the panel. I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts and suggestions for personal branding. It’s definitely my new project for winter break.


  17. It is important to have a message that people want to relate to. Talking to be heard only proves that you have one person listening – yourself. To gather a following, you need to ensure to your audience that they have a reason to believe your words are reasonable and relatable. If you offer them something to believe in, they will be far more interested in investing time with your personal brand.

  18. Claire,

    You offer up a great example — make it memorable, make it relevant and make it real. They will remember. I think for a lot of people you will always be the PR Princess — which is a beautiful thing!

    Here’s to more projects together in the future!


  19. Thanks Gene —

    They have served me well over the years too. I think the part that truly separates the players from those who are genuine is how consistently you live your personal brand.

    It’s pretty tough to fake it for a few months or years. People will see through that — and walk away quickly!


  20. Thanks Dan!

    Glad you were able to jump into the conversation and found the post of value.


  21. Elise,

    Being real is at the very core of our personal brands. Like I said to Gene — it’s pretty tough to fake it for too long. One of the beauties of a genuine brand is that it is consistent. Which of course creates trust.

    And trust is what branding is all about!


  22. Heather,

    Thank you very much — retweet and Facebook away! I’m very happy if my blog can help your students in any way. I hope some of them will jump into the conversation and the comments section.

    I think they’ll find this blog’s readers are remarkable both in smarts and heart.


  23. Jann,

    Glad to be a part of your site’s resources — thank you! How did your audit turn out?


  24. Brian,

    I hope you’ll come back (or shoot me an e-mail) and let me know how your winter project turns out!

    Thanks for braving the winter chill on a Saturday to come out and explore with us.


  25. John,

    Without a doubt — if you are not relevant to the audience, you will soon be talking to yourself. And of course we know what people care the most about …is themselves.

    That’s why so many marketers shoot themselves in the foot because all they do is talk about themselves with little to no regard to their audience.


  26. Helen says:

    The things you said, are the true reasons for which people choose to keep using your brand, and also spreading it. This is good to know:)

  27. diane knaus says:

    Nice points you make and very true. I hope everyone really takes them to heart.

  28. Frits Olsen says:

    Thanks, only comment.

  29. Helen — Glad you found it helpful!

    Diane — I hope so too!


  30. Once you’ve designed your personal brand and have a personal brand name, use this handy list of suggestions to implement your personal branding strategy.

  31. Dan Schawbel is the bestselling author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, an award winning blogger at Personal Branding Blog, a national speaker and consultant on branding and a BusinessWeek columnist.

  32. It might be also relevant to include a discussion about the role of the place in some wider region with a certain economic relevance, also beyond administrative borders.

  33. I thouroughly enjoyed the event and came away with such great info and motivation. you and the rest of the panel were really great.

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