Personal Branding in Day-to-Day Life — Anouk Pappers

Talking Trends
3 min readJan 30, 2024
Anouk Pappers — Brand Anthropologist

On a recent storytelling project, I embarked on a journey to West Africa, delving into the rich cultures that define the region. The exploration led us to the heart of Benin, where remnants of the Dahomey Kingdom, one of the most powerful in the country’s history, stood. As a brand anthropologist, I was delighted to find that there are lessons in the art of personal branding that have transcended time.

Exploring the history of this ancient kingdom revealed a strong connection between the kings and their meticulously crafted personal brands. Visual epics immortalized the essence of each monarch, ensuring their stories have endured for generations. Using their regal imagery, the kings of Dahomey communicated a narrative that resonated with their subjects. They each used their personal brand to tell a consistent story — one that conveyed their character, leadership style, and the principles they held. In doing so, they etched abiding marks in the hearts and minds of their people. The legacy of the Dahomey kings shows that the art of personal branding is timeless. It also reinforces my commitment to support people in defining and communicating their brand.

Beyond the context of ancient history, personal branding continues to be a foundation for professional success. From boardrooms to networking events, and in day-to-day interactions, the strategic use of your brand can support you in achieving your goals. In a conference room setting, introducing yourself using your brand can influence perceptions and underline your distinctive approach to leadership. Presentations should include the key phrases and elements that define you. If you are at a networking event, consider having your brand listed on your name-tag. It makes for an excellent conversation starter and will attract like-minded professionals, potential collaborators, and mentors who resonate with shared values and aspirations.

When updating your resume and bio, ensure that they accurately reflect your brand. Yes, you want to showcase your achievements and experience, but more importantly you need to highlight who you are and what expertise you bring to the table. A well conveyed personal brand will allow prospective employers to recognize your strengths and what distinguishes you from others like you.

The integration of your personal brand into the various facets of professional life should become part of your daily routine and communication. Include it in your email signature and rework your LinkedIn biography based on it. Creating and publishing content on communication topics that align with your brand establishes a cohesive narrative that engages and resonates with the intended audience.

The lesson I learned in Benin is that personal branding is not a new idea, even though the terminology is modern. The kings of the Dahomey Kingdom expressed their brands in ways that transcended beyond the professional sphere and became guiding principles that define the human experience. By weaving your brand into everyday life you create a compelling, authentic professional story.

A brand anthropologist who has been storytelling for brands since 2002, Anouk Pappers has interviewed over 1,000 CEOs, CMOs and business owners and published 15 books. Anouk’s primary focus is on working with women and diverse leaders to define their personal brands and pinpoint their narrative. Her company, Signitt, enables people to align their online presence with their personal brand, as well as with their organization’s values and mission. This positions them to achieve their next professional goal while at the same time enhancing their company’s image.

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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