Brand Character vs. Brand Reputation

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln

Recently I spoke at the Asian Business Association of Orange County’s Business Matchmaking Workshop.  I spoke about:

“The 7 Deadly Sins of Big Business Networking” and

“The 7 Deadly Sins of Small Business Branding”

People were highly receptive of what I wanted to share. My intention for that talk was to give value to this amazing organization I love and to help our members understand how to present and position themselves for even bigger business.  There were highly influential and multi-million dollar business owners in the room and at the end of my talk, people came to me with enthusiasm to shake my hand, introduce themselves and let me know how my talk has inspired them to network better and to C.A.R.E.  Some attendees who had to leave right after my talk, even sent me an email thanking me and letting me know how my talk will change the way they  network online and offline.

What really caught my attention was when more than 3 of the attendees told me that my talk really EMPOWERED and MOTIVATED them to think that their message matters.  That their BRAND matters.   Prior to my talk, they didn’t have the understanding of the importance of their Personal and Company Brand.  It was because of my talk that they understood that no matter how virtuous their companies were, if they are not actively COMMUNICATING that, their target audience doesn’t know they exist, nor do the big corporations they want to do business with.    What’s even more interesting is that through my talk, people not only had “Aha Moments” about their brands, but they were truly inspired at a deeper level.  Some of them even called me “The Asian Tony Robbins” which was really humbling.

So do you know your Brand Character?  It’s who believe, feel and think you are.  It’s the conviction, stories and values that you want to share with those whom you want to reach.  It’s your M.V.P. – Your Mission, Vision and Purpose you want to exude.

What’s your Brand Reputation? It’s how people perceive what your brand is.  It’s how you make them FEEL and THINK about your brand.  Do you have a brand that relates or do you have one that repels?  Business owners who don’t pay attention to the value of their personal and business brand often wonder why they don’t have a steady stream of business. It’s because people don’t really understand what they do, what they have to offer, the value in their offer and how their lives will be better as a result of investing in your company.

I’ve been told that my Brand Reputation is rather serious and formal, yet I exude competence, reliability, influence and CARE.  Do you know the best way to find your Brand Reputation?  If you’re a blogger, check the comments on your blog.  If you’re on LinkedIn, check out the Endorsements you have! That will astound you!  That’s what people think and feel about your competence.  Look at your Facebook engagement and what people say about you.  People tell me I never cease to inspire, motivate and make them feel that THEY MATTER.  That’s where my brand aligns.  I want people to always feel that their MESSAGE MATTERS and that they can MONETIZE it.

The other side of my Brand Character is that I am goofy and I love to laugh! Optimism, courage under fire, family, integrity, loyalty and inspiration are all part of my Brand Character. Look at these 2 distinct pictures taken seconds apart! The one above reflects my Brand Reputation, the one below my Brand Character.  Thank you Marcos Orozco for the beautiful pictures!

I often talk about “Branding Beyond the Logo” and “Magnetic Branding” because if you think your brand is limited to just your logo and graphics, think again.  Discerning consumers now have a plethora of choices and business owners who realize that do whatever it takes and differentiate themselves from others through their own stories, mission and vision on what truly makes them and their business stand out.  This is the very basic work that helps them ATTRACT their ideal clients, CONNECTS them at the heart and TRANSFORMS them into a TRUSTED AUTHORITY.

There’s an art and science to Magnetic Branding and it starts with AWARENESS of your M.V.P.  From there you formulate and implement the ACTIONS that will ultimately bring you the ACCOMPLISHMENT of many areas of  your business – profitability, leadership, harmony a positive company culture, sustained company growth.

Whether  you know it or not, you have a Brand Reputation that may not necessarily be in synch with your Brand Character.  If you choose to not bother with identifying and communicating your brand, people will form your brand for you.  Recently there was a very good-looking felon from Stockton, California who’s mug shot became an instant internet sensation.  His picture was liked over 59,000 times in 1 day! Talk about the perfect example of people forming a brand just from a picture and a Facebook post!  The Brand Character and Brand Reputation was truly out of sych on that one but it shows you the power of Brand Reputation.

Remember Princess Diana? She was truly one of my heroines.  Her Personal Brand Reputation was that of elegance, outspokenness,  altruism, royalty, family, human rights but her Brand Character – the behind the scenes – included loneliness, chaos, self-esteem and relationship issues.  She had no qualms with being authentic and revealing some of that with the world.  The true power of Princess Diana’s Personal Brand was when she was able to align her Brand Character and Brand Reputation with her genuine LOVE of the people, LOVE of family and her courage in challenging non-conformity and being true to herself.  Her authenticity is what won her the people.

Never underestimate the power of knowing your Brand Character and Brand Reputation.  They are not the same.  One is who you think and feel you are and the other is who your audience think and feel you are.  The work is gaining CLARITY on both, aligning them and communicating from that level.  If this strategy is good enough for Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Bill Gates and Richard Branson and Princess Diana, it’s good enough for all of us!

If you need help with your Brand Clarity, please Contact Us – send us an email to and we would love to schedule a 15-minute Complimentary Discovery Session with you.

Until We Connect…




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