How to Develop Your Personal Brand: A Lesson from Local Experts

Sidewalk art (with photo filter) by Eric Anderson.

Sidewalk art (with photo filter) by Eric Anderson.

This Wednesday The Commission, a Rochester-based young professionals group, held their latest Professional Development Panel discussing how to develop personal image. The expert panel included: Michael Wojcik, Rochester City Council Representative and owner of Elite Consulting; Sarah Miller, brand strategist and owner of White Space; and Christian Mogensen, Interactive Media Director at Think Mutual Bank.

Here’s what these local authorities had to say about personal branding, personal vision, and how to develop as a young professional in any community.


What is a personal brand?

A personal brand can be thought of as your legacy. It’s what you want to be known as and what you stand for as an individual.

Are personal brand and personal vision the same thing?

They are related but separate entities. A brand is like your personal theme, which develops from self-discovery. Brand also is a type of promise. How well you keep that promise becomes your reputation. Personal vision is more forward thinking and encompasses your ultimate goals and desired accomplishments.


Did you sit down and write out your personal vision or did it develop over time?

Personal brand and personal vision can change based on experiences, passions, and opportunity. Typically, our branding and personal vision development starts at a very young age when we don’t really know much about ourselves as individuals. When you develop more experience or desire to leave the safety net of an employer or perhaps even a field that you’re highly trained in to seek out something more rewarding, you’ll likely need to re-invest in yourself and develop a different, more focused vision and brand. Part of this involves learning your strengths and weaknesses and following your assets down a singular path.


How do you seek out mentors to help develop your personal brand and vision?

Look for mentors in roles that you aspire to hold some day. But mentors that failed to reach these positions might be even more valuable and have many lessons to pass on. Remember that mentorship can develop from unexpected people, so don’t close yourself off to opportunities. Always keep in mind that mentors provide opinions; you have to process feedback from these mentors and understand how it applies to you, personally.


How do you seek clarity in your personal vision?

Remember that learning is a lifelong activity. We often choose fields of study, such as during college, without really knowing ourselves. What you studied or were trained in doesn’t define you. Your actions “on the field” are what people will remember. Don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself and keep learning and exploring as an individual.