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Issue #24: The Personal Branding Issue

"Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room."

The first time I came across this very insightful Jeff Bezos quote (he is the founder and CEO of Amazon after all) the importance of personal branding really hit home for me. I realised that how my friends, family and particularly colleagues perceived me may not be in line with how I wanted to be seen.

In this new age of fast-paced working, it is very rare, particularly in a professional context, for anyone to get to know you properly. Therefore the image you create of yourself in the time it takes to shake a hand and exchange a few pleasantries is crucial. What is your elevator pitch?

Unfortunately (re)branding yourself to gain instant respect (and the boy of your dreams) isn't as easy as throwing on a skin tight leather one piece, some red lippy and taking up smoking (smoking is bad kids) a la bad Sandy in Grease. So what can you do? Fret not and read on.

In this issue we also discover the 21st century metrosexual (the spornosexual) in our Men's Corner. 

Suit & Pie will be going on a (much needed) mini break until Christmas, so do help keep the #suitie spirit alive with a cheeky follow, retweet, share or like!
Happy reading!

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Who do you think you are?
The concept of Personal Branding is going through a bit of a revival at the moment (#PersonalBranding). We find out what all the fuss is about, explore what your brand looks like and how you should go about reinventing yourself (if needed!).
Isn't branding just for Apple?
It has long been acknowledged that companies have brand identities and that these are crucial to their success as they are strongly associated with what those brands stand for (eg. Dyson - innovation, Dove - real beauty). It has also been acknowledged that celebrities (A to Z) have brands to maintain (eg. Miley - twerking, David Beckham - underwear, oops I meant to write football hero), so why wouldn't your personal brand matter too?

Whether you like it or not, you already have a unique personal brand - a combination of your reputation and attributes. Are you always the first at the bar, the one who stays late, the first to crack a joke? These thousands of choices and opinions, from the simple to the complex, make up your personal brand and drive the opinions that others form of you.

Not many of us have consciously cultivated our brand, therefore it may not be the most accurate representation of who you are and what you are capable of. Making a conscious decision to define your brand (rather than have it define you) can reap rewards in the long run.
Brand Me
Before you start building your personal brand, here are some basic rules that you should bear in mind (from the personal branding experts!):

Authenticity is key: According to brand specialist and author Karen McCullough, "For many years women have worked on their professional side and they appeared to be very one dimensional. Those days are gone. We want to see and know all aspects of you." By sharing more of who we are, we attract more of the people who 'get' us and distance ourselves or have no impact on those who don't. We build a network of people who value us for who we are and who connect with us on a deeper level through these shared values.

Be consistent online and offline: It is standard practice nowadays for potential employers and clients to google you before you meet which means that people are using the first impression they have of you from the internet to decide whether they connect with you and how they act toward you when they do. As Michael Simmons says "your online reputation will precede you." So make sure your instagram feed isn't just #wineoclock (unless you're a wine merchant).

Say No: In his great Forbes piece, William Aruda explains how saying yes to everything doesn't only mean our performance suffers, we disappoint others and we get stressed. It also means that we create confusion around our personal brand. Saying yes to a more focussed set of requests helps build clarity and consistency in personal branding, makes you focus, gives you a sense of control and sends a message to those around you that your time is valuable. 
I've always loved a good makeover...
So now you are convinced of the importance of your personal brand, how do you go about building it? There are some great articles and toolkits available on the net which can guide you through that process. Here are our highlights:

1. Have a brand vision: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What do you want people to associate with you when they think of brand 'you'? Is there a specialist subject matter you want to be perceived as an expert in?

2. Define your appeal: What do people get from working with you instead of with someone else? What is your culture and what will the client or people in general feel and think about you after meeting or working with you? It may be helpful to ask some of your colleagues, your boss or your clients what they value about you. Your appeal should be unique to you.

3. Think about how you show up: Appearance is important as is Executive Presence. EP is the ability to project gravitas, confidence, poise under pressure, exhibit decisiveness, be a great communicator, have public speaking skills, some assertiveness, and the ability to read an audience and situations.

4. Have an online presence: "If your team members, clients and potential hires are googling you and nothing shows up, you don't exist" says William Aruda. Social media platforms are increasingly the way that people first connect and do business and your digital brand is your first impression. Having no profile puts a lot of pressure on you during that first in-person meeting - if it even happens!
And some great (re)branding stories...
Kardashian Chaos

Love her or hate her, there is no denying that Kim Kardashian knows her brand and knows how to make it work.

Her latest attempt to 'break the internet' with some eye catching nudity in Paper was a perfectly consensual and calculated move by the world's most successful TV star.

You have to admire a woman whose determination and marketing nouse has transformed a 'leaked' sex tape into a multi-million dollar reality TV show and 25.5 million twitter followers.

Kim also has her own fragrance ranges, skin care products, make-up, clothing lines, endorsements, talk shows, guest hosting and modelling gigs, books, jewellery lines and cosmetics.

She even has an app (Kim Kardashian: Hollywood) and at one point her own credit card (the "Kardashian Kard"). 

At 34, Kim's net worth is $65 million (£41.5 million) which makes her an exceptional businesswoman - whichever way you look at it.
Everything is awesome!

The Lego Group was founded in Denmark in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The company started off making wooden toys and it wasn't until 1958 that it started manufacturing its iconic plastic building blocks.

Unfortunately what were once state of the art children's toys were soon facing tough competition from electronic toys and then video games.
Lego had to continue to stay relevant by constantly updating its brand, branching into new product categories and  linking their toy themes with popular culture (movies, TV shows, video games). 

By sticking to its core brand values - imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring and quality, Lego has managed to move beyond selling just toys.

As Marcus Sheridan explains "Lego understands their bigger purpose - one of challenging the minds of people young and old, to create, imagine and go beyond what they believe is possible. In fact, Lego doesn't sell "blocks" at all, they sell possibilities".
Socks & crumbs (or the bit at the bottom)
Heard it through the (corporate) grapevine...

- The Escape School (Escape the City's education arm) will be running a talk on 'How to Define Your Personal Brand' with Charly Cox, leadership coach and founder of her own communications company, on 25 November. Get your tickets here.  

- Harriet Minter, head of Guardian Women in Leadership, is the key note speaker at the next W Kollective event on 24 November. The W Kollective is a community created to connect women in digital, technology and start-ups. 

- The City Christmas Fair will be held on 1 December at Draper's Hall in aid of excellent charity Wellbeing of Women. Pop down to buy original luxury Christmas gifts. 
This week I will be...

- checking out the stories behind some of the most iconic brand logos (never noticed a bear in my Toblerone!)

- getting down and dirty with the cutlery-free 'whole Cornish chilli crab' at the Smoking Goat, our new favourite Thai joint

- laughing at pranking ideas from the worst (but funniest) coworker ever (the business cards!!)

- grooving into the Christmas party season with some silent disco action and amazing views from the Shard

- rediscovering the culinary genius of Konditor & Cook and their incredible Curly Whirly vanilla cream cheese brownies
It's a man's world - maybe we aren't so different after all 

New Metrosexual

It has been 20 years since Mark Simpson coined the term 'metrosexual'. At the time, he described this new type of man as "the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that's where all the best shops are), perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade". Turns out - he was right!

As the metrosexual man turns 20, Mark suggests he is being replaced by the 21st century "spornosexual", a product of sport getting into bed with porn. The result? Men who want to be desired for their bodies, not their wardrobe and "certainly not their minds". 

With men in the UK now spending more on shoes than women, "eagerly self-objectifying, second generation metrosexuality is totally tarty". But, as Mark mentions, "it is really about men becoming everything. To themselves. Just as women have been encouraged to do for some time". 

So what kind of 21st century man are you? The Daily Mail has a few options - Mr Mandrogynous, Mr Mainstream Moustache, Metro-Dude and the Remantic (!)
Mr Smith's corner

Mr Smith gives us his thoughts for the week.
Highlights: You've managed to combine Grease and Lego into one edition, how is that possible?! I think those trousers are the ones that Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into for the role (just as an FYI). Checked my personal brand with a colleague who confirmed it was 'usually Becks' which sounded just fine to me!
Lowlights: I let Mrs S know that as a result of our new house purchase, delayed renovation programme (read hole in roof), I have arranged that we can spend the Xmas period with my parents. I wasn't quite sure whether she actually said 'over my dead body!' or whether I imagined it but either way it would appear we are in fact now spending a couple of weeks over Xmas with her parents instead. Hopefully they won't try to kill me through making me drink tea every 30 mins this year...

Lesson learnt: Some things you learn the hard way and some things the easy way ans as you mentioned Lego... Apparently there are just over 915,103,765 different ways that you can stick together 6 same coloured Lego bricks. Let me know how you get on...
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