Recently, some of the ladies of Ogilvy and I attended the latest WACL event which was all about ‘Building Your Brand.’  Hmmm… bit cheesy and self-indulgent, I thought?  Two hours, learning about how to ‘brand’ myself better (images of branding irons for cows sprung to mind).  I have to admit, I was sceptical.

How wrong I was. 

The next two hours would generate some of the most interesting professional self-analysis I’d done for a long time, as a result of the advice and life-lessons from the four, industry leading women on the panel.

Each speaker began by stating her definition of what ‘building one’s brand’ really means and their advice included:

  • being courageous and consistent - knowing what you want your personal brand to be recognised for, and sticking to it
  • getting yourself a mentor, someone who will give it to you straight - learn how they grew their brand and use some of their strategies to build your own successful brand
  • making industry journalists your friends, offering them interesting, topical angles of debate – after all, if you make a journalist’s jobs easier, they in turn will help amplify your brand
  • considering your brand as a ‘contribution to others’; that your career should be about continuous learning and how this learning should be shared with others
  • (Madonna would second this one) - it’s never too late to re-brand yourself - but you’ll need to use your network to help you do this, by advocating and supporting you
  • getting tribal with your peers, building a hinterland, supporting each other by continually adding value to your tribe
  • saying ‘YES!’ to every invite - and just getting STUCK IN!

So, who has done these things to great effect? The panel’s answers varied from Richard Branson (I think we’d all agree he is the Lady Gaga of re-branding in the business context) to Jamie Oliver (an undeniable branding machine, whether you like him or not!), to their child’s school governor (an incredibly positive collaborator).

But the rationale behind why these favourites were chosen was similar across the board – these people were all ‘authentic’, both to themselves and others.

So, what would your brand be known for? Who could be be your mentor in helping you achieve this? Which peers would you invite to join your tribe on your branding journey? Who would be your brand hero/heroine?

This blog is my first step into building my brand for a long time – I’ve been a full time mum at home for the last couple of years. I’m now in my 3rd week at OgilvyOne (getting stuck in!), working with some hugely talented people (I’ve got a bountiful collection of world-class mentors to choose from, as well as great peers to get tribal with!), where my part of role as Head of New Business & Marketing is to amplify the agency’s brand.  Hopefully through this blog, I’m achieving some positive brand amplification for both parties!

Thank you, WACL, for creating such an inspirational evening.

Written by Mary Kabra.


Notes -


Syl Saller – CMO, Diageo

Francesca Ecsery – Portfolio Non-Executive Director

Caroline Marshall – Founder, Caroline Marshall &  Partners

Laura Vipond – New Business Director, Karmarama

Chair: Anna Jones - CEO, Hearst