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5 Unexpected Personal Branding Lessons (From My Dog!)

authenticity compassion dogs loyalty personal brand personal branding resilience storytelling trust Jul 03, 2024

By Alanna Fairey

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me (no matter how brief our exchange), there is almost a 99.99% chance that I have talked your ear off about my dog, Rudy. 

Anyone who is a dog parent will tell you that there is just something so safe and comforting about coming home to a dog that will always be happy to see you. For the last eight years, Rudy has always been by my side. When I’m not working, you can probably find me taking him for long walks, running to the beach at the cottage, or he’s in my car going on a field trip to get a well-deserved pup cup. Through good days, bad days, transatlantic moves, relationships beginning, relationships ending, relationships beginning again, career changes and everything in between, my life has been made so much better just by having Rudy in it.

I guess you could say being an obsessed dog mom is a big part of my personal brand.

And believe it or not, dogs are also pretty good teachers when it comes to personal branding (outside of Marina and Stefano, of course!). 

Think I’m just using this article as an excuse to talk about my dog? Well…that’s up for debate! But I can’t deny that everything I learned about being myself, building meaningful connections and practicing the act of showing up, I learned from my dog.

Sometimes, our dogs are the ones that teach us, not the other way around.

1. Be Radically Authentic

In my opinion, dogs are probably some of the most authentic beings in the world. I can promise you, Rudy has never pretended to be something he’s not. Whether he’s feeling goofy, playful, or mischievous (which is most of the time, to be fair), he remains true to his nature at all times. Similarly, authenticity is the cornerstone of a strong personal brand. 

When building your personal brand, be radically authentic and just be yourself, as the old cliche goes. Don’t try to copy others or mold yourself to fit a certain image, just because it might be socially acceptable or desirable to the people around you. People are drawn to those who stay true to themselves.

2. Build Trust and Loyalty

I always joke that if someone ever broke in and tried to rob me, Rudy would probably cuddle the burglar all the way down to the police station, just because of how trusting he is. And I guess I can’t blame him for this one. Dogs, by nature, are wired to show unwavering loyalty and trustworthiness to their people. They form deep bonds with their human companions and are always there to offer support and companionship. Building trust and loyalty is equally important in personal branding.

Consistency is key to building trust in your personal brand. Be reliable, transparent, and accountable in all of your interactions. 

3. Show Genuine Care and Compassion

Dogs are incredibly empathetic creatures: they can sense when their humans are happy, sad, or in need of comfort that only a dog can bring. They offer unconditional love and support, making them cherished companions. In a very similar sense, demonstrating care and compassion can help to enhance your personal brand.

My advice? Show genuine care and compassion for others in your personal branding efforts. Take the time to listen, understand, and empathize with their needs, concerns and interest in your work. Offer support, encouragement, and value wherever you can. Building connections based on empathy and compassion will build a loyal following and enhance your personal brand’s impact.

4. Be Resilient 

My older sister has two young pups, one of which she rescued from a shelter. Even though she was neglected and abused by her former owners, this dog is one of the most loving, energetic and trusting pups I’ve ever met, which reminds me that we aren’t always what happened to us. Resilience is equally crucial in personal branding, especially when navigating setbacks or failures.

View challenges as opportunities for growth and learning in your personal branding journey. Instead of letting setbacks deter you, use them as stepping stones to propel you forward. Stay resilient, adaptable, and optimistic in the face of adversity. Your ability to overcome challenges will not only strengthen your personal brand, but also inspire others to believe that they can also do the same.

5. Stay Present 

One of the many things I love about Rudy? He really lives in the moment. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing with his favourite toy monkey or simply sleeping on my feet while I work, Rudy is always present and engaged. And if you want to build meaningful connections in personal branding, you need to be present. No exceptions.

When engaging with others in your personal branding efforts, listen attentively, ask thoughtful questions, and offer genuine responses. Show interest and enthusiasm in your interactions, whether online or offline. Being present and engaged fosters deeper connections and leaves a memorable impression.

As you embark on your personal branding journey, remember the valuable lessons that dogs can teach us about authenticity, trust, compassion, resilience, and presence. 

By embracing these qualities and incorporating them into your personal brand, you can create fur-tunate encounters and build meaningful connections that will elevate your brand. 

And hey, if you happen to have a dog yourself, I would not be opposed to getting any dog pics!

Alanna Fairey is a Client Engagement Specialist at Brand of a Leader. She has a diverse background in fashion communications, branding, and writing. Connect with Alanna here.

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