Header photo by Hamish Grant. Used with permission.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Personal Branding on a T-Shirt

Brand strategist Paul Copcutt suggests that you think carefully about your personal brand before jumping in and trying to articulate it.  At Personal Brand Camp 2, Paul said that one of the first things he has his clients do for their personal brand is to send a questionnaire to their friends, families, colleagues and mentors.  The questionnaire is designed to develop a brand snapshot - a jumping-off point from which the personal brand can then be nuanced.

Three years ago, my brother Jeremy did this when he decided to make me an unforgettable Christmas gift.  Unbeknown to me, Jeremy emailed a number of my friends with a few questions:
In the future, Zack will be ...
If Zack had a super-power, it would be ...
If Zack were reborn as another life form, he would be ...
If Zack were a smell, he would be ...
Jeremy then collected and compiled the results, and made t-shirts based on his favourite answers.

The answers that he received reflected my personal brand through university (as well as my friends' senses of humour).  Some of the predominant themes were:
  • a desire to make a difference, 
  • environmental consciousness, 
  • vegetarianism
  • a love of sharing music
  • a sense of humour, fun and joy

The way that others perceive us is critical in our personal brand.  If I say my brand is one thing, but others see it as something else, then there is a disconnect, and I either:

a) view myself differently than others do; or
b) am being inauthentic with my personal brand.

In both cases, it is time to go back to the drawing board.

So how am I doing with my personal brand?

Some of the responses to Jeremy's questionnaire and more of the t-shirt designs after the jump.

 In the future, Zack will be ...

"My father in-law.  I'm determined to marry a Sandor and I'm running out of options."

"Be happy, helping others and probably a father."

"A man of intelligence, wisdom and tact.  He has a desire to help and a determination to be a great friend. Pretty much, a huge friggin' class act is what Zack Sandor is."

"A Once-ler cooped up in his tower.  He will tell tales of a once-green world, until he finds a suitable young person to pass on his wisdom and the seed of the truffula tree"
"A traveling speaker / music-maker / peace guy.  Bearded (clearly)."

If Zack had a super-power, it would be ...

"Whatever power Captain Planet had."
"To inhale pollution and negativity, and excrete it as clean oxygen and good will."

If Zack was reborn as another life-form, he would be ...

"An albino squirrel (from Exeter, Ontario)"
"A wookie."
"A cup of Dr. Pepper."
"A peanut.  Delicious, natural, healthy, often found strewn about in bars, and also an alternative to meat."

If Zack were a smell, he would be ...

"The smell of crayons."
"A combination of Old Spice and Birkenstock leather, with a hint of cedar and pine needles."
"Bug spray."


  1. still smiling from that one Zack-Attack.

  2. I'm pretty sure that you are the reason I love the smell of Old Spice so much. I smell it on other men and being the creeper I am I think of you, and your batman pillow. Na na oou Zack, na na ou.

  3. Wow, Kim - I'm flattered. And a little creeped out. And the comment about a batman pillow makes me look like a big geek without context. Let the record show that I was given such a pillow precisely because it was geeky and hilarious.