Personal Branding & Authentic Leadership

Why personal branding and authenticity matter in leadership.

Successful branding isn’t about creating a persona or being a chameleon. To be true to yourself and your brand, you need to be consistent. Don’t change yourself to fit a relationship or situation. Be comfortable and confident in your own skin.

The best leaders, the outliers, are authentic leaders. They are true to themselves, to their values, and to what they believe — to What Matters. This is evident in the experiences they create with others. Their authenticity shines through all they do to motivate, inspire, and influence others. Authentic leaders provide encouragement and direction and are crystal clear about their role: they want to help others grow and develop. Leaders support their direct reports, peers, and their own leaders. They set an example.

Blue Fish - Personal Branding

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

True North Program

What Is Personal Branding?

A true personal brand embodies a person’s essence and what makes them unique. Similar to authentic business brands, authentic personal brands clearly convey What Matters. Their True North drives all decisions.

Your True North is your internal compass. It keeps you facing in the direction of What Matters and who you are at the deepest level.

Why Is Personal Branding Important?

When our external persona “doesn’t fit,” our inner discomfort is very real. Acting takes effort and is ultimately draining. If you’re in a situation that’s causing you to compromise your values or you’re modeling behaviors to fit in, your stress levels will be high and, ultimately, you won’t be successful in that particular situation.

The Brand Attributes

Like that of a business brand, a personal brand’s authenticity is measured by the following attributes:

Internal Brand Attributes

Purpose, Promise, & Principles: Your Inner Beliefs

Your purpose is your why. It summarizes your gifts and defines what you want to achieve. It’s a bold statement that shares your reason for being. It must be consistently delivered through your interactions with others and present What Matters to you so that the people in your life can feel a deep connection with you.

Through your promises, you tell people what they can expect from you. You tell them how you’ll commit to doing something for them. Remember, a promise is powerful. Affection and trust are built on kept promises. And a lack of these things can end personal and professional relationships.

Your principles embody what you value. They’re developed over time and through your life experiences. These strong inner feelings about right and wrong have the power to call you to action. When you can clearly define your principles, it’s easier to make decisions. The choices you make will be aligned with your values.

Experiences, Presence, & Your Description: How Others See You

Your experiences are the interactions you have with people in your personal and professional circles as well as with strangers. These interactions define relationships. People naturally gravitate toward people who provide consistent and positive experiences. A relationship built on inconsistency or negativity won’t last long.

Your presence is how you show up and present yourself to the world —it’s how “you do you.” Presence can be tied to external things such as how you dress. But it’s also defined by how you choose to be viewed in various settings. It’s defined by the energy and emotions you bring to a situation, whether at work, at home, with friends, or in the community. Your presence also involves how and what you share on social media. Like it or not, impressions are created, and brands are defined based on how people present themselves. The important thing to remember about presence, personal or professional, is that it shouldn’t mask the truth. It’s hard work to consistently pretend to be someone else. At some point, people will see through the lie.

When it comes to the description of your personal brand, keep in mind that this description isn’t yours. It’s how others describe you and what it’s like to be in a personal or professional relationship with you. The way others describe you indicates whether you’re viewed as authentic and true to yourself. Powerful personal brands influence others. They “have it going on.” If a description of you seems off the mark, this is a wake-up call—an opportunity to figure out why there’s a disconnect between how you view yourself and how others view you.

External Brand Attributes

“Your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.”

–Jeff Bezos


What’s Next?

Are you confident that your brand is authentic in all areas of your life? Does your team see the same thing your family sees? Defining your personal brand takes introspection and commitment.

Just Do YOU: Authenticity, Leadership & Your Personal Brand


Just Do YOU: Authenticity, Leadership, & Your Personal Brand by Lisa King – President of Daneli Partners. This book will help you gain an understanding of your authentic leadership style, get clear on your personal brand, help you gain the confidence to live your brand, and challenge you to make your mark on the world.

Buy the Book
Just Do You Companion Workbook


Just Do YOU: Authenticity, Leadership, & Your Personal Brand, Companion Workbook. Download the companion workbook to capture your thoughts and plans.


Additional Reading on Branding and Authentic Leadership