The Leadership Brand: How to Discover Your Personal Brand Persona

Personal Leadership brandingAs a leader in your field, it’s particularly important to create an authentic personal brand. When colleagues or potential clients think about you, they should be able to associate you with a certain set of qualities that you exude. Those qualities are your brand persona, and your brand persona should be present in everything that you do in order to give your brand the most genuine impression possible.

To help you discover your brand persona, I have listed twelve of the most common archetypes into which leaders fit and included examples from the 2011 TIME 100 list of leaders. These types vary based on personality, style of leadership and a number of other things.

As you read through these common archetypes, keep in mind that we are all unique and dynamic, so it would be very rare to say that someone fits exactly into one archetype. Instead, you may find that you generally fit into an archetype more so than the others, while still exhibiting traits of one or two other ones. Think of this as if you were wearing a great suit (your main archetype), but you accessorize with a secondary archetype (watch, briefcase, shoes, etc).

12 Personal Branding Archetypes for Leaders

1. The Chief

The Chief is a goal-oriented, decisive, hard worker who likely was born to be a leader. These types are confident, responsible and love being in charge of making important decisions. Example: Major General Margaret Woodward

2. The Visionary

The Visionary looks to the future for possibilities and does not focus on the past. They value big picture thinking, innovation, and enjoy strategizing. Example: Ai Weiwei

3. The Confidant

Simply put, the Confidant is the “nice guy” or “nice girl” of the group. You are exceedingly kind almost to a fault, as you go to lengths to avoid confrontation. You are caring and dependable. Example: Colin Firth

4. The Performers

The Performer takes control of a room simply by walking into it. They have big personalities and enjoy drama. They may tend to exaggerate or be melodramatic but they have star quality about them that naturally attracts others and places them in a leadership role. Example: Mark Walberg

5. The Caregiver

If you are the kind of person who others go to with their problems, you may be the Caregiver. This personal brand type is sensitive, compassionate and empathetic, and also quite generous. Example: Gabrielle Giffords

 6. The Truth-Seeker

This is the truth-seeker of the brand types, a person who is reflective and analytical. School likely comes easy for them, as they are natural students, and have an insatiable desire for knowledge. Example: Mark Zuckerberg

7. The Explorer

Explorers crave excitement and get bored with repetition. They seek out new experiences and love to travel or seek out adventures. These people are independent and place a high level of importance on freedom. Example: Reed Hastings

 8. The Combatant

The Combatant is a natural protector, honorable to the bitter end. He or she is noble and has a set of principles from which there is no wavering. Chances are this person will be prone to self-sacrifice. Example: General David Petraeus

9. The Spark

The Spark is playful, spirited, and full of energy. They tend to be bold and are often described as the person that “lights up the room”. Example: Amy Poehler

10. The Revolutionary

The Revolutionary is dedicated to helping people find the good in themselves, acting as a catalyst for inspiration or change. He or she may be spiritual or charismatic, or have a passion for healing. Example: Wael Ghonim

11. The Purist

Happy, trusting and honest, the Purist is a natural people person. They have a type of innocence that attracts people from all over. They are wholesome, forgiving and kind. Example: Kate Middleton

12. The Rebel

Rebels have big dreams and strong ideals, yet can tend to get themselves in trouble with their fearless and revolutionary nature. They are not afraid to break cultural norms if they are doing what they feel is right. Example: Julian Assange

These brand persona’s and the need to define and differentiate your personal brand, knows no international boundaries.

Keep the conversation flowing… which archetype best describes your personal brand?

Connect with Kimberly Bordonaro : Website | BlogTwitter | LinkedIn | Facebook


  1. Well said! I just don't think one person only posses one quality/ type of leadership, a dominant side maybe; It is possible that if he is the type 3 kind of leader, he might also belong to type 5 and 11 as well.

  2. Ida Muorie, JD says:

    I working with an International Developer in the Emerging markets arena. He is losing his effectiveness, and needs to be reintroduced to the financial community that serves him now, and I look to expand his wherewith thou globally. What suggestions here.

  3. I really loved this article Kimberly. I plan on taking that test soon.

    Thanks for sharing your personal branding wisdom and applying it to leaders.

  4. Kai Roer says:

    Nice idea, David! I’d love to know more on this topic too!
    Thank you for the article, Kimberly!

  5. I love the idea of personal branding and your list of archetypes. One of our programs looks at perpetuating your brand as a core strength, i.e. what is my unique gift that makes me stand out? Kimberly, how do you see people using this as they continue on their self-development journey?

    • Cynthia, thank you for your comment and question.

      At the core of branding is differentiation. Being clear about your unique value of promise and positioning within your marketplace and/or community will not only help set yourself apart from others, but also helps you create an emotional connection with your audience. This is what leaders have done for centuries and will continue to do well in to the future. While the term “personal branding” may have been coined in 1997, it has been around for a very long time.

      As the Internet continues to grow and allow us to connect with others as we never have been able to before, developing a personal brand will continue to be a vital part of the self-development journey.


      • Hi Kimberly,

        Thanks for your response. And thank you for the link to the 360-Reach. I have just sent it to 15 people. Interesting tool, I am looking forward to seeing the results.

  6. Thanks for your article! Nice self-assessment as we all work to renew, refresh, and recreate ourselves.

  7. Your right personal brand is important, but don’t confuse it with ‘leadership branding’ which is a completely different area. Leadership branding focuses on the collective leadership of an organisation, how it links to your employee behavior and therefore your customer’s experience. All is explained at:

    • Very true, Chris, and thank you for bringing that to attention with the link to your website, too.

      This post is not about leadership branding – it is about being aware of your personal brand as it pertains to being a leader. They are most certainly different and you can cultivate your personal brand as a leader within an company, community, industry, etc.


  8. Interesting thoughts, Kimberley. It would be great to link this with a self assessment and 360 questionnaire. If you have one I’d be keen to see it, if you haven’t are you (and other readers of this blogathon) interested on collaborating on one?



    • Great suggestion, David.

      I use the premium version of 360-Reach for my clients when going through the brand strategy phase. It is the first and leading personal brand assessment that allows you to get a 360-view of how you are being perceived by your network. I am a certified 360-Reach Analysis.

      The free version of the assessment will also give you valuable insight into your personal brand. You can access it at:



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