People often use marketing and branding interchangeably. They are related, but not interchangeable.

Marketing is what we are all doing everyday. It’s the things we are putting into the world for others to see that will give them a view of what we stand for. We are always marketing, it’s just a matter of whether we’re sending the message we want. (And for the record, marketing is our first business.)

Branding is the beast that people complicate. It’s nothing more than the collective energies of our marketing. What we say and do will build our brand. And that is how people will see us from the outside. They will label us as a leadership expert or dog trainer or foodie. Those will be our brand based on what we say and do.

It’s nothing more complicated than that.

Where we go wrong is in trying too hard to be someone we want the world to see and not who we really are. In this connection economy, we must be true to ourselves or our brand will suffer. We must understand the need for our message to this world through the lens of our particular eyes. No one else has them. Just you.

Our personal brands are being formed. The question is, are we being intentional about them?