Can I brand myself naturally?

My response to a question on Quora:

Your brand is natural but it never comes about naturally. Basically it is the result of the interaction between the "I" (who you are without trying) and the "me" (who people think you are). 

  • On a marketing level the skill is to engineer things so that the "I" and the "Me" align. This is basic symbolic interactionism. Via Wikipedia: "The I is the impulsive tendency of the individual (similar to Freud's notion of the Id). The I is the spontaneous, unorganized aspect of human existence. The Me is the incorporated other (generalized other) within the individual."
  • On a practical level you must have a mission that makes sense. I like how Jim Collins explains a profitable one in "Good To Great" - it's the convergence of 1) what you have a passion for doing 2) what you're the BEST in the world at 3) what others will pay you for. Your mission can be an abstract idea or a functional deliverable but it has to be at the heart of your brand.