[management by God] personal branding

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

December 6, 2010

(Note: This was originally written shortly after the release of the first iPhone.)

Why is the iPhone such a hot item these days? Whether you’re rushing out to get one or not, you must admit that it’s got some crazy, cool functionality.

One thing about the iPhone that really interests me is all of the chatter behind it before it ever became available. In fact I even remember there being an incredible buzz about “some new thing” that Apple was going to be unveiling at some consumer electronics show, but no one would say what it was.

Apple’s PR folks seem to be good at what they do, but I think that there’s something deeper going on over there that’s feeding their success. Apple has a reputation now for delivering crazy-cool stuff. They’ve become masters at brand management.

As we discuss the final qualification for the executive-leader, which is about being “thought of well by outsiders,” we come to an interesting focus on reputation management.

In fact, when we look at the original words used in the Greek here, we see kalos and marturia, and they literally translate to “good reputation.” However, when one closely examines these words, something interesting happens.

The word kalos is typically defined as “beautiful, excellent, precious, admirable, etc.” So it speaks of much more than what we regularly consider to be simply “good.”

Also the word marturia is actually more commonly translated as “testimony.” So upon a closer look we find that “being thought of well” or “good reputation” is really more like a “beautiful testimony.”

Simply put, a good leader must have a great story, or brand.

As leaders, if people are to know who we are, if our reputation is to precede us, then we must be masters of personal branding.

Think about how great it would be to have some buzz about the next project that you’re going to be working on. That’s be cool, huh?

Deciding on Your Brand

You must decide what it is that you are going to stand for. What do you want to be known for? Is it consistency? How about being innovative? Maybe it is more about setting a standard of excellence that is rarely seen? Whatever it is, the first step is in deciding what image you want to project. For Apple, it is crazy-cool.

Creating That Brand

Once you’ve decided what it is that you want to “deliver”, then the next step is to start delivering it in the small things that you do.

If you want to be cutting-edge, then find ways to be cutting-edge even when working on that boring “communications team” project. Or think a little outside the box on that payroll initiative that you’ve just inherited.

The point is that you don’t have to try to get on the biggest, most visible project that there is. You just have to start delivering your personal brand with everything that you work on. Even with the little things, it helps to build consistency and integrity into who you are and what you represent.

Capitalizing on Your Brand

Once you’ve implemented it, then it is time to capitalize on it. Once people recognize you as being the one that always delivers “X”, then your name will start to get tossed around for other things where they need someone with “X”.

As a football fan I cannot help but to think of the clutch receiver who’s not afraid to go across the middle of the field. The guy that consistently delivers there will quickly become known for that, and will begin to be marked as one who excels in that area.

You see, you don’t have to be great at everything, but you do have to carry a reputation for being great at something. That reputation will become your story. It becomes the “brand you” that you can offer to other people.

Your reputation, or testimony, will get you opportunities. It’s just up to you to deliver what you say you are, and what you’ve lead others to believe that you are.

Questions to consider:

  • What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
  • What are you doing right now to back up that reputation?

Spend some time today working like an advertising executive, and developing your personal brand. Then do everything that you can to back it up.

See more from the management by God series!


  1. Bradleyjmoore

    Great advice, Dan. Anyone in corporate leadership can’t afford NOT to be thinking about this.

    • @bibledude

      This issue of personal branding is a tricky one. I’ve struggled at times with presenting an image that I knew that wasn’t me. It’s ended up holding me back from promotions, but I stick with doing what I do best. And that’s resulted in a solid reputation within the organization… even though I’m not always the ‘image’ that some want me to be.

      Maybe this is another post… I agree that this is important, but I also tend to stay away from putting on masks that others expect me too…

      Thanks for popping by Brad! You rock dude!


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[management by God] personal branding

by Dan King time to read: 4 min