We’re all pretty much attuned to the notion of company brands and positioning, and to a certain extent, we’ve all heard about personal branding—which has become especially important these days with the pervasiveness of online and social media activities.

Whether we’ve actively cultivated it or not, we all have a personal brand. It represents what others think or feel when they hear your name. It represents their emotional response to how you “show up” to them in their lives. Do they feel positive and reassured; do they feel guarded and anxious; or do they not feel anything at all?

What does your personal brand say about you? Do you even know? Do you want to know, or are you content to muddle along as-is?

Your personal brand encompasses your vision, mission, values, and promise. It’s a result of what you hunger for most in life, the passions that give your life meaning and purpose, and the role you play in the lives of your family, your community, your colleagues, your government, and even complete strangers.

Sir Laurens van der Post (1906 – 1996) perhaps said it best when he contemplated the essence of meaning in our lives:

“The Bushman in the Kalahari Desert talk about two ‘hungers.’ There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; but the Great Hunger, the greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning.

“There’s ultimately only one thing that makes human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is to have thrust upon them a life without meaning.

“There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness. But of far more comfort to the soul is something greater than happiness or unhappiness, and that is meaning.

“Meaning transfigures all; and once what you are living and what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you are happy or unhappy. You are content. You’re not alone in your spirit. You belong.”

(Sir Laurens van der Post was a South African cultural anthropologist, statesman, and author. His life is the subject of Hasten Slowly, a 1997 documentary film by Mickey Lemle.)

For what do you hunger? What gives your life meaning? Is your personal brand an accurate reflection of the real you?

Share your thoughts and experiences here.



Big events coming up in the next few weeks with the San Diego chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA):

Driving Your Marketing Career to New Heights—Great event for people looking at their careers, thinking about changing positions, or just looking for something new. Speaker Ken Schmitt, President and Founder, Turning Point Executive Search, is a San Diego native who has specialized in marketing and sales recruiting for a long time, knows all the big marketing players in the area, and has wonderful advice to share. October 17 from 6 to 8 pm, Barney & Barney, Towne Centre Dr., San Diego. $10 for Members, $30 for Guests. Check it out at http://sdama.org/events/driving-marketing-career-new-heights/.

The Art of Marketing Conference—With a lot of big brands like Qualcomm, TaylorMade, Provide Commerce (ProFlowers), the Union Tribune, and agency superstars such as Rand Fishkin from MOZ (SEO MOZ) participating, San Diego AMA’s big conference of the year is sure to sell out (as it usually does)! Features new Sitting with the Masters sessions where you can sign up for one-to-one sessions with pros on market research, PR, social, and career advice. And there’s bacon burgers and beer at Sliders 50/50 for our Happy Hour! For more info, visit http://sdama.org/events/art-of-marketing-2013/ (and note the early bird registration deadline of October 18 is fast approaching).