Monica Allen: How to create your own brand 05/11/09

The observation that ”in the end it is impossible not to become what others believe you are” is true. You have to earn your reputation,” says Monica Thurmond Allen.

Executive summary: The book ”Personal Branding” by branding expert Peter Horn helps leaders and specialists in large, international companies create a career in an increasingly global world. In the UK, Peter Horn’s associate partner Monica Thurmond Allen, MA, who helped write the book in English, underlines how your personality can be more important than your skills.

The book ”Personal Branding – How to create your own brand” by branding expert Peter Horn is written with a special focus on leaders and specialists in large, international companies to give them a platform for a career in a world that is becoming increasingly global. The basis of the book is a quote by Julius Caesar in a book by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez: ”In the end it is impossible not to become what others believe you are”. Now the concept of the book is spread through consultations, courses and speeches in the UK.

Monica Thurmond Allen, MA War Studies at King’s College London and an Intern at the UK House of Commons, is Peter Horn’s associate partner in the UK and trained in Denmark as a personal branding lecturer. Having worked with politics, strategies and analysis during most of her professional life – including over a year at the office of US Senator Bill Nelson – she has a way of thinking that can help career people achieve their goals.

The figures for the activities have been promising so far: 50 per cent of people working with personal branding under the supervision of Peter Horn and Co. have achieved significant improvement in their career and

earnings. 25 per cent found that focusing on personal branding provided the incentive and method to achieve better results with others; 25 per cent found personal branding ”nice to know”.

The book shows how the value of personal branding increases the more you wish to work internationally. It is in fact crucial for the success of an international career campaign.

The personal label
Personal Branding takes up the fight against the Law of Jante – in English tall poppy syndrome or in Scottish A kent yer faither (I know your father)– and points out, that “we live in a world where our abilities are so increasingly similar that our personality is what makes us stand out from the crowd”. The definition of personal branding is ”the public projection of your personality and your abilities in a configuration that gains for you every possible advantage in achieving your unique career aspirations”.

Case studies in the book draw from royal families to top management and specialists to entrepreneurs from different parts of the world. Its main target is, however, to equip corporate readers with tools to understand their own situations, then to build a sterling reputation that others want to share in.

”The book’s many exercises include creating a personal label, a personal market analysis and calculating the market value of your personal brand. Readers then go on to develop a personal branding strategy, and finally embark upon implementation,” Monica Allen states. In the coming months she and Peter will be conducting their first seminars in the UK.

A social activity
Personal Branding is about how to win followers. Your personal brand is what those surrounding you associate with you: your name, physical appearance, qualifications, personal qualities, abilities, relationships and future possibilities.

”We emphasize that personal branding is a social activity. It hinges on choosing, and conversely, arranging to be chosen by the right decision makers and opinion formers. Both are only possible if you are able to build the correct reputation. Personal branding is thus built on ethics – what you ought to do – and morals – what you actually do. Especially in the international perspective, the observation that ”in the end it is impossible not to become what others believe you are” is true. You have to earn your reputation,” says Monica Allen.
UPDATE 2013: Today, Monica Allen is a special adviser at the office of the deputy prime minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, covering the Ministry of Defence, Foreign Office and Department for International Development: Monica Allen - Linkedin