Jo Doran, Ph.D., M.F.A.

Assistant Professor & ESL Coordinator, Northern Michigan University

Branding (Your Self…)

It’s all about Product, Presence, and Personality . . .

Product ~ What is it you are selling? Where does your expertise lie and where do your talents fit? And remember it’s not enough to state a general focus, like teacher. Be detailed and specific: “My teaching is based on a classical rhetorical foundation and offers a pragmatic approach to teaching oral and written communication to first- and second-language students through writing and presentations via modeling and one-on-one conferencing.”

Consider audience: Who is your target audience? You cannot reach everyone. You only have so many resources and so much time and energy. You cannot be everything to everyone. Be sure to market yourself within your field. You have a special area of expertise – so market that – to those individuals interested in that expertise.

Presence ~ How to you want to be seen? You will be seen, so you may as well choose how. Personally, I use the following sites to post information about me and give an overview of my expertise, and provide ways for people to contact me and connect with me.

  • (my – This works as an online business card, where an individual can post a picture, a somewhat brief bio, and links to professional sites. It is free and very easy to set up.
  • Linkedin (my Linkedin): Launched in 2003, this is a professional networking site that includes space for you to showcase your experience and resume/CV, accumulate and give endorsements, and participate in professional groups/discussions. The basic Linkedin is free.
  • (my This is a free site to share research: papers, conference proposals, etc.
  • Professional Blog (mine): WordPress is free, professional, and easy to work with. Contact me if you need help/feedback.
  • Email Signature: Aside from my professional info (titles, job title, etc. – I use the as the last line on my email signature – as a one-place-fits-all site and a jumping-off place for visitors.

Part of being marketable is knowing what and who is ‘out there.’ Spend time researching other people, companies, etc. Be interested in other people – in what they do and say – and be willing to share with them, at least to a point. You want to become memorable; before you can do that – you need to be seen as a genuine person – interested in what others have to say, in what they are doing, and you need to be able to carry on a mature (longer than one minute!) and expansive conversation that is not (just) about you!

Personality ~ Competition requires that we individualize our presence and expertise. We can do this in two ways:

  • Personality: Remember this is to be your professional personality! As one person stated, “Be yourself… but be your best self.”
  • Examples: Give examples of your work that shows how your product (your expertise), your presence, and your personality show in each example. You are unique! Show how your individuality shines through to your own applications in your work.

Articles: How To Brand Yourself On A Small Budget  (Here it is in attachment format.)


I own this book and you may borrow it if you wish.

Sample Websites

This website on business/marketing and Value Proposition – a type of branding – is an excellent example of branding – itself! Peruse this site by and about Peter Sandeen. Consider the layout of his webpages, the sizes and types of fonts used, what he offers – free – to get a visitor interested, etc. Here is the piece in Word format.