My Reputation Doesn’t Matter . . .  Said No One Ever ... An Excerpt from Marketing Guru Aliza Licht's Book On Brand
February 22, 2024
On the release of Aliza Licht's book On Brand in paperback, we share an excerpt on how to think about the development of your own brand.

I don’t love the word expert, but guru is way worse, don’t you think? There are very few people in the world who actually are experts. But the individuals who brand themselves as such know that in this ever-changing and competitive world, we must all become adept at marketing ourselves.

Creating a personal brand is not about being famous or becoming an influencer unless that’s something you strive to be. It’s about communicating who you are, what you align with, and what you do well. It’s about providing value to the people around you. It’s about getting the credit you deserve and everything that comes with that.

While the digital age gave those who opted in the means to amplify themselves, the hybrid and often virtual landscape we now work in proves that having a personal brand is no longer a choice; it’s a requirement. There’s no unsubscribe button. To succeed, we must have the means to convey who we are no matter what the medium. A strong personal brand sets you apart from the pack and secures your professional longevity—because what you do today may not be what you do tomorrow.

Your personal brand ensures that your name gets dropped in rooms you’re not in. It allows you to capture opportunities others haven’t even heard of yet. It puts you in a position to win because the people around you know the value you add. Why? Because you’re in control of your narrative, and you’ve done a stellar job conveying your worthiness consistently, clearly, and with integrity, every time you show up. 

I hate to say it, but without a personal brand, you’re flying on a trapeze without a net. Now more than ever, it can influence the opportunities presented to you or handed to someone else. We’ve all seen it happen—someone less deserving gets awarded an opportunity over someone else more worthy and possibly even more talented. Because it’s not just about your abilities, it’s also about who you are, who you know, and their perception of you. 

I’ve spent more than two decades immersed in the business of shaping perception. In my early years at high-fashion magazines, I observed how influence and taste are cultivated. When I moved to the corporate PR side, I learned what it takes to build a brand with cultural impact and longevity. I’ve worked with some of the most prestigious luxury brands and have been on some of the best marketing and communications teams in the fashion industry. As each year passed, my responsibilities and reputation grew in kind. I became a key stakeholder, working on the front lines of brand positioning, creating relevancy, building awareness and, later, fostering innovation. 

Growing up, I was raised to have a confident voice and, throughout my career, supported by mentors to use it. That characteristic has consistently earned me a seat at the table, with the ability to assuredly explore and share my ideas, no matter how unconventional they might be and regardless of who is in the room. 

In 2009, one such idea catapulted me from my traditional role in public relations to the Wild West of social media. This singular concept would alter my career trajectory forever. Before the creator economy even existed, I plunged into an emerging world, becoming a social media pioneer in the fashion industry and one of the first examples of a fashion influencer, even though we didn’t know that word at the time.

I created an anonymous social media personality for my for mer employer of which I was the sole voice (and later, the face) and organically built a highly engaged cross-platform community of over 1.5 million followers (which was huge in the early days of brands on social media). I taught myself the building blocks of what it takes to authentically tell a brand’s story online and foster a passionate fan base around it. When I was revealed as the person behind the persona, the news generated more than 230 million media impressions, including a full-page feature story in the New York Times. But I never imagined that the same tactics and marketing principles I had applied to my corporate work for years would later be pivotal in rebranding myself. In doing so, I evolved from a corporate employee to someone with a multimedia personal brand that includes two books, a podcast, speaking engagements, newsletters, a private online community, and a creative brand marketing and digital strategy consultancy. It didn’t hap pen overnight, and it took hard work, consistency, and passion. The good news: I’m about to share all my insider strategies with you. 

Let me be clear, though; while I love a good outfit more than most, this is not a fashion book. But my learnings come from an industry built on image. We are selling it. We make you crave it. You consume it. I don’t care whether you’re a marketer, coach, artist, banker, athlete, consultant, entrepreneur, writer, lawyer, doctor, teacher, influencer, actor, server, bartender, administrative assistant, cashier, student, or unemployed. Simply having the skills to do a particular job doesn’t cut it anymore. Of course you need to have the credentials. That should go without saying. But more than that, no matter what you do professionally, you need your own, clearly defined personal brand to cut through the noise and set you apart. Or, more specifically, to put you in a position to be chosen or recommended for whatever plum opportunity you’re after.

Creating a personal brand is not about being famous or becoming an influencer unless  that’s something you strive to be. It’s about communicating who you are, what you  align with, and what you do well. It’s about providing value to the people around you. It’s about getting the credit you deserve and everything that comes with that. 

Your personal brand doesn’t necessarily need to live online, but having a strategic digital presence will strengthen your position. Nevertheless, it absolutely needs to exist in the real world. How you present yourself, build social capital, and exude executive presence is directly proportional to your success. True talent is delivering the message that you intend with refinement. Standing out in a sea of competition and becoming known for what you do best are the by-products of well-crafted communication and repetition. I’m going to assume that you’ve picked up this book because you want to be seen, change how people perceive you, or maybe even change how you view yourself. Perhaps you have no idea and need to figure it out. Either way, you’re looking to define your personal brand to help drive what you’re trying to achieve. Maybe you’re just curious as to what this personal brand hype is about. If you’re new to the concept of a personal brand, welcome! You may have never thought about it before, but fun fact, you already have some version of one. It starts with what makes you, you. The impression others have of you stems from how you tell your story and express your unique combination of personality, experience, and skills. It lies in both the spoken and unspoken, and in your mannerisms, energy, and attitude, whether in person, online, in the media, or by word of mouth. It’s your visual identity and the things you choose to surround yourself with. It’s what people think you do, who you are, and what you stand for. Saying something is on brand for you means that it aligns with you aesthetically or in concept. People’s perception of you becomes their reality of you, whether you like it or not. Your personal brand is a powerful tool that, if mishandled, can cause harm. Hello, cancel culture. 

But it can also take you to the highest heights if managed strategically. The best thing is, it’s personal! No two people are alike, and with that comes the opportunity to design your brand by shaping your narrative, sharing your vision, and shifting their perception. Think couture, baby, because this thing must be tailored to perfection. 


In theory, everything you say and do should be on brand for you. Your communication and actions should support the image Introduction you want to convey. But first, you need to know why you’re here. Many roads can lead you to want to create or better communicate your personal brand or change perception. 

Your motivation might be that you’re looking to become more notable in your industry, or perhaps you’re in the early stages of your career and want to build for the future. You might be some one lacking the gravitas needed to lead, or maybe you’re excellent at what you do but don’t seem to get the credit for it. You could have been passed over for a promotion or, worse, been laid off or fired. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you might be trying to transform your side hustle into a company or position yourself to investors. You could be a content creator looking to get to the status of influencer or crushing your career but never thought to build a presence online. You might want to pivot but don’t know how to reshape your story. You could also be someone who needs to get back in touch with the value you bring because somehow you’ve lost that confidence. No matter your current situation, if you do what I’m suggesting, this book will change how you view yourself and how others perceive you. 

Because personal branding is essential for everyone, I’ll share advice and scenarios geared toward various career stages, no matter the industry. Don’t limit yourself to what you profession ally identify as today. Tomorrow might be a new reality for you. The possibilities are endless, and with this book, you’ll be pre pared for each of them. 

I’ll guide you on how to start, where you might need improve ment, and explain the path you need to take to reach your full potential. You’ll finish this book knowing exactly how to posi tion yourself and be able to tackle the areas below that every person needs to maximize their personal brand.

In this book, you will learn how to:

1. Analyze your brand’s current state and focus on what you want to be known for.
2. Lay your foundation with a website, an all-star LinkedIn page, and a compelling bio.
3. Nail your elevator pitch, tell your story, and communicate your wins strategically.
4. Establish your brand at work, earn social capital, and cultivate authentic relationships.
5. Become a captivating speaker and presenter.
6. Craft a social media strategy and build an online presence.
7. Manage your reputation, learn PR 101, and survive cancel culture.
8. Establish your signature look and visual identity.
9. Understand your value and negotiate what you’re worth.
10. Overcome imposter syndrome, step into your power, and rebrand yourself.

I know it sounds like a lot and may feel overwhelming, but I will hold your hand every step of the way. Sometimes my words might feel like tough love, but you can’t do this if you’re not self-reflective. You also won’t succeed if you don’t believe you can. Whatever baggage you’re bringing to this book, I can help you. There is more out there for you. But you need to be willing to put in the time and the thought process. I can’t create your personal brand for you. You must craft it; to do that, you need to be clear Introduction on your intention. 

Whatever your reason for picking up this book, I commend you for investing in yourself and being open to the possibilities. 

I’ve lived the advice and methods I’m about to share, and they work. But first, take yourself out of the box you’ve mentally put yourself in. There’s no “I can’t.” There’s no “I don’t.” There’s no “I’m not.” Remove the labels you’ve assigned yourself. Erase the self-judgment that’s held you back.
Too many people have chastised themselves to me for not having done this sooner. They berate themselves for “not being good at this.”

News flash: you can’t be bad at something you didn’t even try.

By reading this book, you are willingly shifting your mindset. When you allow yourself to get out of your own way, you’ll be amazed at what can happen. 

Why do this, you might ask? Because your career is likely to go in many different directions, and no matter what, I bet you have aspirations greater than where you are today. You may have forgotten them, but this book will peel back those layers and expose the dreams you’ve been scared to wish for out loud. So go ahead and turn the page and permit yourself to say, “What if?” Because what lies ahead is an opportunity to rediscover yourself. And for some of you, maybe for the first time. 

It’s true our world is more uncertain than ever. We can, how ever, control how we communicate, the ways in which we con nect, the energy we give off, and what we choose to align with. We all need to be ready for anything, and whatever you can do to protect yourself from the changes around you, the better off you’ll be. To successfully pivot at any given point requires that instead of putting all your efforts into one company, role, and title, you must have that same intention for yourself. With On Brand, I invite you to step into your new role as Chief Brand Officer of YOU.

​Excerpted with permission from On Brand Shape Your Narrative. Share Your Vision. Shift Their Perception. by Aliza Licht © 2024. Published by Union Square & Co.​

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