Building a personal brand, one step at a time

Motivational speaker Michael Mallery speaks during his presentation about building a personal brand to students at UConn's School of Business on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

Michael Mallery, a motivational speaker, gave a spirited presentation about building a personal brand to a group of students Monday night in the School of Business.

Mallery, who founded the educational website I’m So Educated, began the presentation by prompting students to visit his Instagram page on their smartphones. He posed a simple question: ‘What do you think my personal brand is?’

After looking through pictures of inspirational quotes, students concluded that Mallery was an “early riser” and a “go-getter,” and that the best way to describe him would be “motivational.” Mallery explained that these conclusions were his intent, and that he frequently curates his social media pages to give visitors these impressions.

Mallery explained more about his personal brand, talking about his penchant for dressing business casual and the sleep schedule that gets him out of bed at 4:30 a.m., before defining ‘brand.’ In his words, a brand is “a set of perceptions and images that represent a person, company, and product or service.”

To show how brands establish a set of expectations and set people and companies apart, Mallery used Apple and Nike as examples. Both companies have communicated a certain mindset to consumers; for Apple, innovation, and for Nike, a desire to succeed.

Malry then challenged the students in attendance to think about their own brands. He asked the students to think through a metaphorical question: "what would your brand be if it was a person, a house, or a car?’" Mallery explained that his brand can be shown through Iron Man’s desire to revolutionize, “I, Robot” character Sonny’s reserved cool, and Optimus Prime’s ability to transform for any situation.

When the same question was posed to the attendees, Mallery received a wide range of responses. Students likened their own brands to Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Tim Duncan, among others. 

Mallery then reaffirmed that you must always be cognizant and consistent when maintaining your brand, since the outside world is always watching. He explained that he will not appear in photos holding alcohol, saying it may give outsiders the wrong idea about him. He urged the students to always be careful when using social media, explaining that companies will use Google with no discretion when evaluating candidates for a job.

To conclude his presentation, Mallery offered a crucial piece of advice. “Don’t let someone else define your personal brand,” he said. “You define it.”


Tyler Keating is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus, covering UConn soccer. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating