Can You Cook Up The Perfect Personal Brand?

I had an interesting question the other day and it went like this:

“Should I add certain ingredients to my brand to make it more appealing to people, even if they’re not my strongest ingredients?”

It came at the part of my workshop where delegates, having spent the first part of the session brain-dumping all the things that make them tick (their ingredients), start paring them down to the best ones so they can go on to create the recipe for their signature dish. (Something I use as a metaphor for their personal brand.)

Essentially, I was being asked:

“Is it better to base my personal brand on what I think people want, or on what I actually have to offer?”

What do you think the answer is?

I’ll give you some space to make your mind up before I share my opinion. (Because you know me… I always have an opinion!) Scroll down when you’re ready.







Have you decided? Well, my answer was a firm, direct and emphatic “No”. Want to know why? Because here’s the entire aim when creating your signature dish, i.e. defining your personal brand:

To take the primary ingredients in your cupboards (the strongest ones that come naturally to you) and turn them into something that automatically becomes appetising to others.

It’s not the ingredients, it’s how you serve them

It doesn’t matter if you consider those ingredients to be a bit run-of-the-mill and therefore less appealing, because you can’t actually predict what will or won’t tantalise the taste buds. Sometimes the most delicious dishes are the simplest ones. (I’d take ham, egg and chips with a slathering of ketchup over some fancy-pants nouvelle cuisine dish pretty much any day.)

What you don’t want to do is chuck in a couple of ingredients you think will appeal to others, but that aren’t as readily to hand. (“Hmm, maybe some caviar and truffle shavings could convey a classier brand. They’ve been at the back of my cupboards for a few years now, but if I dust them off, they should still taste OK.”)

Put in that context, I hope you see how cooking up your perfect personal brand means simply offering people the best version of what you’ve already got.

What are your thoughts? Are there occasions when you should adapt your signature dish to appeal to others? Have you ever done that – and how did it work for you? I’d love it if you’d share a comment below.

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