Yesterday I congratulated graduates and proposed they work on their brand. But there’s a lesson in branding for all of us, even if our formal education officially ended in a previous century (like me and many of my readers!)

An excerpt from my upcoming book, “LinkedIn Marketing Techniques for Law and Professional Practices,” due out June 1st:

…You, the professional practitioner, …probably never sat through a personal marketing course in college or grad school. Marketing oneself is rarely a course offered in law schools today, amazingly. See the opinion blog post lamenting this situation at

If you did attend such a course, no matter how long or short a time ago, I assure you that marketing has changed a lot in the past years. And it has changed a lot in the past year. And it’s still changing.

Further, I suspect you are personally reluctant to talk about yourself in terms of Why You Do What You Do, worried about sounding ego-centered, or have paralyzed yourself and your brand, unnerved at expressing your central branding attributes to potential clients, after years of finger-wagging and admonishment.

When I first started coaching clients, I saw a need to perfect my special sauce, attuned to professional people I train, coach, lecture, and cajole; any of my LinkedIn concepts is designed to help them get out of their own way, past the parents and teachers who stymied them, to express to potential clients WYDWYD and get others to add HowYDWYD, all told, to surpass their competition.

That’s a lot of emotional branding for a professional to adapt at once. And for most, it comes out reluctantly, slowly, and irregularly. Eventually with some discussion, it becomes more fluid, and with my editing, better refined. The “a-ha” moment occurs when the professional actually enjoys self-defining with words, concepts, actions, anecdotes, and graphics—an editable mélange of experience painted in a self-actuating way.

Over time I kept meeting professional practitioners who held more than one terminal degree or multiple professional certificate designations: attorneys with Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, CPAs who were trained in the law, financiers with either, or CPAs with a law degree.

And I encountered others operating more than one business at a time, as I do myself, so I attracted other owners of multiple businesses in diverse industries, needing to mentally and emotionally tie the business interests together for others to understand them as the de facto head of the firms. Their/my quandary was this: How can you show others the why behind the diversity of professional interests just as clearly as the owner personally sees his or her combined missions?

Do you see where I am going with this? We all need the practice to refine our brand. It takes time and work.

Brand yourself on LinkedIn, and elsewhere, or someone else will do that for you and never as well as you can do it yourself.