I know you’re probably wondering how I ended up on this list of names. Well, I own an Apple computer, love Led Zeppelin, and have had a bike since the first grade. That’s all true but there is something else I would like to point out.

Go back and look at the three famous names on the top. Now say each name to yourself. What was the first thing that came into your mind?  Here’s what I think of

– All the money in the world can’t buy your health

– Man, I need to sit down and learn the guitar solo from Heartbreaker

– What a liar and a cheat

These famous names are known to millions. Like most, my circle is much smaller however if my name comes up in a conversation people are going to have an emotional response. The same is true of you. Some people call this your personal brand and it’s something worth thinking about because whether you like it or not, you’re already a brand.

Masters of the Brand

Steve Jobs changed the image of the CEO and became a brand upon himself. He became known for his wardrobe of round glasses, jeans, black sweaters, and sneakers as much as for his cutting edge innovations. Some would brand him a genius, visionary, and inspiration, while others would call him a tyrant,  selfish jerk, and a control freak. Whichever way he’s perceived, no other company was more associated with its CEO than Apple.

Here’s a guitar in a glass of whiskey. Who’s the owner? Any rock music fan knows it’s the famous double-necked guitar Jimmy Page used on Stairway to heaven. He managed to brand his guitar! That’s no easy feat for any musician.

The rise and fall of a brand

Lance Armstrong’s story is one of the most extreme shifts in personal branding. He went from a cancer survivor and one of the sports most revered athletes to a liar, cheater, and fraud. The old adage “You are what you do, not what you say” was never more true.

Tom, Dick, and Harry

Here’s another way to look at it. You’re putting a band together and you need to find musicians. Keep in mind you’ve never met any of these guys and you have three recommendations. Let’s start with the drummer:

– Tom is an amazing drummer but he’ll be drunk by the third set

– Dick is a nice guy but his time is all over the place

– Harry has a great feel, a nice guy, and a pro all the way.

Harry gets the gig.

Everything from the clothes you wear, your shoes, and your haircut to the way you shake hands says something about you. Even your body language and personal grooming paint a picture of your brand. Never underestimate the power of your image and reputation. YOU are the CEO of Me Inc.

Thanks for reading and see you all next month.

– Mike O’Reilly