“I Incorporated” – What’s Your Brand?

My personal Brand Part I (Part I – of a three part series)

I was introduced to a concept called “I Incorporated” during my final year of college by one of my business professors, David Bennett.  It was mentioned often in our Career Development class.  Now, I had a concept of what it was before he mentioned it, but I didn’t have a title or a real grasp of it until then.  Since, I have found myself to be a very conscious purveyor of personal branding, or what “I Inc.” is referring to.

Branding is largely what differentiates products that would be commodities based on the consumers experience with that brand.  Or is it that unique experiences received by consumers through actively differentiating products that would be otherwise be commodities is “Branding”?  Maybe it works both ways.  For the sake of this article, the most important concept of branding in the larger sense is that Companies…ahem… successful companies, actively seek to provide their consumers with unique experiences through the companies’ products as an act of branding, in order to garner product and further, brand loyalty. The difficult thing about Personal Branding is regardless of what you say, your actions will constantly provide your audience data/information that will be used to make a conclusion about YOUR brand.

Jim Joseph, a Finalist for the 2013 PR News Social Media Icon of the Year Award, has a great series of books known as, “The Experience Effect” (you can see them listed here under Recommended Reading).  I believe a 3rd part to the series will be out soon enough.  Joseph starts the series with The Experience Effect with large scale branding.  The Experience Effect for Small Businesses is, well, self-explanatory.  The third – as I anticipate will follow the trend – and is sure to give great input on “I Incorporated”.

With this I ask: What do YOU want to be remembered for?  That is part of a brand isn’t it?  When you think of a brand, you don’t think of what they DO; you recall what you REMEMBER them for!

Let’s try it:






Johnny Knoxville? …

Alright, the first things I recall: BP – Gulf Oil Spill, gas & snacks; Xyience – UFC, working out; Exxon-Valdez – Oil Spill in Alaska, Questionable drilling practices in South America; Coca-Cola – Caravan of lit-up Coca-Cola trucks, Polar bears, Christmas and great with Rum; FEMA – Have they ever figured out how to do their job? & Katrina; Johnny Knoxville – Jackass.

You might have had different experiences, so the brand associated with each figure or name may be different.  I venture to say that the more successful companies are both better at translating the same brand experience consistently AND better at making each individual experience unique – but still consistent with the branding they desire.

A Brand can have a positive or negative effect.  Clearly, when thinking of personal branding, we cannot afford a negative effect.  This is something I think about in my daily activities, my projects, my efforts, and my goals.  What am I doing that I can influence that is will build my brand?  Well, a good solid base is something I and my peers like to call, “being a good dude”.  Now, what do I want to be known for? Well – reliability, determination, drive…

I know that my brand will be incorporated in anything I do, and it drives me to do even better.  Every person I meet, every interaction I have, and most importantly every action or inaction I take and whether it coincides with what I say, is a reflection of my brand.  What will people remember of me? What do they recall when they think of LifebyDamien.com?  What feelings does my name provoke in others?  How am I, and how WILL I be remembered?  Needless to say, I have a lot of personal branding to do – and it is never over.

I look forward to building the Veteran Recruitment Division at Creative Solutions Services, and I know its brand, as a tool for Veterans and Corporations alike will be based largely, on the my personal brand – until it takes on a brand of its own.  I am leveraging my own brand, to gain initial support for this new product, this new brand.  My leverage will only go so far.  Even more so, if the VRD brand does not prove successful, my personal brand will take a hit.  If the VRD brand does grow to be successful, as will my personal brand grow in reliability.

Stay tuned for “My Personal Brand Part II” as we discuss “intent vs. result” and examine choices some have made to protect their brand and how the efforts turned out.   Then to conclude, “My Personal Brand Part III” as we discuss the conflict and what Veterans Need to be aware of as the dynamics of “I Inc.” change upon leaving the Military.


Part 2 – Courage

Part 2 – Courage

It has been a while since my last article.  For that I admit my faults in being delayed.  I will do my best to excuse myself, being that I have been very much consumed in the transition of going from military professional, to business professional.  I’ve stepped into a completely new world, and have so much to learn.

That being said, I’d like to start off with today’s article with an introduction.  I call it “Part 2 – Courage” even though if you scour the archives, I have never written a “Part 1”.  Or maybe I have…

“Honor, Courage & Commitment” is uttered as a motto for the Marine Corps, the Navy, and various versions have been used through-out the world.  My article, Do What You’re ‘posed To Do, was really about commitment.  This article, less ambiguously, will be about “courage”.  At some point, I will finish the 3 part series with “Honor”.

I’ve heard many meanings and definitions of “courage”: Moral Courage, physical courage, mental and emotional courage.  I’ve heard it described as, “Doing the right thing when nobody is looking”; “doing the right thing just because it is the right thing”; “persevering in the face of adversity and fear”; “facing your fears” and “not just not being afraid, but admitting you ARE afraid, and facing the challenge regardless”.

I can say, I feel like I’ve come across a time in my life where I have faced a test of my own courage.  I couldn’t tell you what definition it falls under, but I will admit it has, is and will continue to be tested.  Each day presents itself with new challenges.  However, the challenges are only new to me… the same hurdles to many others around me… aren’t really hurdles at all.  I guess you could say recently I have been facing the challenges of being a rookie – in a sport I’ve never played.  It is extremely shocking because I have gone from a place where I was nearly masterful at my trade, and often looked to for advise, mentorship, guidance and wisdom in my trade.  Now, I feel so very lacking in all of the fore-mentioned departments.

Going from one end to the other so drastically has created one of the biggest challenges I think I might have faced yet.  Being able to understand and retain my self-worth, while not inversely over-inflating my ego and feeling like I am “too good” for anything is difficult.  It is tough.  I can’t say what else it would be, other than courage that I face the new challenges.  There seems to be a struggle between self-belief and accepting/understanding of reality.  To what extent do I chase the dream and high-expectations that I have set? Am I on the right path to find them?  Or was it all just a lie?

It is here.  In this place —  I find a major test of courage.  Being able to hold on to a dream, not just dream but hold the conviction, swallow the pride, and continue to persevere to obtain the “dream” and make it reality.  Did I step onto the right path?  I don’t know – but if I didn’t, perhaps I will build one.