Brands are made, not born. A brand is also not a first impression; it is built over time. Leadership brands are built around what is real and authentic about the leaders they represent.

In 1997, Fast Company magazine featured a cover story called “The Brand Called You”.  This story encouraged individual leaders to find a way to stand out and be remarkable.

Here are some examples of personal brands to get you thinking of what your leadership brand is.

Walt Disney:  optimism and creativity

Richard Branson:  daring and adventurous

Warren Buffet:  willingness to share his wisdom

Bono:  the power of one to make a difference

Mark Zuckerberg:  transparency and openness

Remember that your leadership brand is more than personality, more than executive presence.  The core of your brand is what’s inside — the ideas, principles, and values that you live by.

You are every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke or Pepsi.  To clarify your personal brand, focus on the following questions.

What have I done lately to make myself stand out?

What would my colleagues or customers say is my greatest strength?

What can others count on me for?

What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable and distinctive value?

What have I accomplished in my career that I can “brag” about?

What is my dramatic difference?