Launch Global Education
Sparks blog: What’s Your Brand?

by Dr. Ann Wagner

When you think of a brand, you might think of a line of clothing, or a beverage company, or a type of automobile. Thinking about people, you might think of a sports star, or a Hollywood celebrity, or a Tiktok or YouTube star.  Whether it is a product or a person, each has specific attributes that are likely recognizable, interesting, and memorable. Now, what about you?

Building your brand

Think for a minute. What might other people say is recognizable, interesting, and memorable about you?  Are you happy with these things and would you like to add to them?  For example, let’s say you are a great guitar player and you are also really good at science.  These are probably two things you are proud of and work hard to achieve.  They are an important part of your personal brand.

But let’s say you are also very interested in video production.  This might be a new skill you want to work on and something that you want to add to what you are good at and what people know about you. How might this new skill complement your existing skills?  How might they connect?

student scientist

Why do I need a brand?

Well, you don’t exactly.  But thinking about what makes you uniquely you helps to tell your story. And when you build your resume for college applications and later for job applications, you will want to highlight a variety of things that not only define you, but also might expand people’s ideas of who you are. Thinking of yourself as a brand helps you emphasize what you want to promote about yourself to the world.

student playing guitar

Ethics and your brand

An important part of your personal brand is being truthful and acting with integrity. Too often people take something and embellish it to make it sound better.  Sure, you had a very interesting science fair project, but did it actually win the blue ribbon? Being truthful is more than just about avoiding getting caught.  It is about understanding that you are an interesting and important person with or without ribbons and medals.

Telling the story of your project—how you got the idea, what you discovered, what you would do differently the next time, how it inspired you—is far more interesting than winning the blue ribbon.  You become a thoughtful researcher, not just a prize winner.

Becoming a life-long learner

The best part of developing your brand is it is ever-changing.  Just like a company, you can be developing new products—new aspects of you—as part of your brand.  Life-long learning is a combination of getting better at the things you already do well and trying brand new things that you might initially be terrible at.  In a way it is fun to be really bad at something, right?  You can only get better.

student videographer

So, what is your personal brand? Who are you now, and who do you aspire to be? Are you an amazing student scientist who plays a mean guitar and plans to be a heart surgeon someday? Fantastic!  Oh, and you create compelling one-minute science experiment videos for middle school kids with killer guitar riffs? Dude, you rock.

Dr. Ann Wagner

Ann Wagner, EdD is a founder and the Vision Engineer for Launch Education.  Dr. Wagner has led international schools around the world and currently teaches at the university level, working with educators earning their masters' degrees.