Personal Branding or just self indulgence...

I got it in my head a couple of weeks ago I needed to update my professional photograph as part of my ongoing, ever evolving personal branding to ensure I’m portraying an image that reflects my value. It’s a classic marketing pursuit.


After a quick Google search you’ll find Wikipedia defines Personal Brand (or Personal Branding) as the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. The term personal brand is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters. And if you take it a little further, the same Google (with the help of Business encyclopedia) defines Brand Equity as a marketing term that describes a brand’s value. That value is determined by consumer perception of and experiences with the brand. If people think highly of a brand, it has positive brand equity. When a brand consistently under-delivers and disappoints to the point where people recommend that others avoid it, it has negative brand equity.

Yes that is exactly what I was doing — keeping my Brand Equity front and centre using the subtly of a photograph to reinforce it.

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Being an accomplished Sales and Marketing Leader with a reputation for effective strategy, creative problem solving and execution; highly experienced in sales and marketing management with a number of awards. And also someone who brings a wealth of cross-functional skill sets in product, price and marketing management as well as sales management and development to help business leaders with their commercial problems, I set out to build a brand.


Using my initials and the belief I’m clever, I built the name GPEStratagem — I adopted the Scottish Unicorn as my logo (because it is unique, speaks to my heritage, and is full of character, as well as strength), and adopted the moniker iamgpe. I had a very professional photograph taken and build a web site with social feeds where it made sense.

And then I started to blog for no other reason than if you want build a personal brand you need to articulate its value.

Over the years I have evolved my web site and expanded my social channels but I hadn’t done anything with that original photograph. Why get a new photograph now after all this time? Maybe it was the desire to keep my brand and image fresh, or maybe the belief that social media photographs shouldn’t be “too dated”, or simply a belief there were subtle changes in who I am, or what my value has become. Whatever the reason, it seemed new photographs were the only way to get the message across to support my personal (and professional) branding efforts.


A very talented photographer named Phillipa Croft (who likes to work with natural light) was able to help me in this regard. Having the photographs in hand I have know uploaded them onto my web site and various social media feeds, and even got a blog topic out of the little adventure as a bonus.

Arguably I’ve done a reasonable job of couching this in my personal branding strategy… although I suppose I’m just indulging myself by showing off my new pictures and how the natural light captures my features nicely.

In either regard, you have to admit Phillipa takes a fine photograph.


PS — OK, OK… it’s self indulgent. But then again, isn’t that an important component of effective Personal Branding.