By Alexia Leachman, Founder of www.headtrash.co.uk

There’s a popular quote from Jezz Bezos, he of Amazon fame, and it’s what he thinks a personal brand is: “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Well, I’m going to stick my neck out here and disagree with him. What Jeff is talking about here is in fact your reputation, and while your reputation is certainly an element of your personal brand, it’s not “it”. There’s a whole lot more to your brand than that. But it’s certainly an important element. In a world where word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, the driver of which is reputation, it’s an element that cannot be ignored.

But let’s take a closer look at “what other people think”. Which other people? The only reputation you really need to worry about is the one that affects your ability to maintain your livelihood, or achieve your goals and aspirations. If you’ve got a reputation as a dodgy camp dancer, then you probably won’t lose too much sleep about that one. Unless of course, you’re auditioning for Lady Gaga’s global tour as dancer!

At its core, your reputation will largely stem from anything you say and anything you do. However, I’ll hold up a flag here and admit that in certain circles, there may well be some lies and mistruths spread about you, as is often the case for many celebrities and high profile individuals. But for most of us, our reputation will come from our behaviour.

But all is not what it seems. The interesting thing about reputation is that there is always going to be an element of it that remains outside of our control. And that’s because, it’s ultimately what OTHER PEOPLE THINK. And how can we control what other people THINK? Other people can be a bit weird – aren’t we all? Our thoughts and perceptions are as a result of how we filter and experience the world, and we filter according to our beliefs, experiences, our values and our cultural reference points. So, while you may be behaving in a manner that you consider to be respectful or confident, certain individuals might perceive you as arrogant or rude.

This is easy to understand when you take some time to consider the mishaps and misunderstandings that happen when we go abroad.

So you see, while you can influence an element of your reputation, there’s also a huge part of it that is out of your control. And so, that’s why reputation management is also an important activity to consider in building and managing a strong personal brand.

Alexia Leachman is a Mojo-hunter and helps business leadersto find their mojo by helping them to clear their head trash, tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. Alexia is also the founder of www.headtrash.co.uk, the home of the most powerful head trash clearance technique in the world. She regularly speaks and writes, and recently authored a chapter on Online Reputation for a book on Internet Marketing due out in November 2012. You can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL.

Alexia is speaking at our forthcoming Internet Marketing event @ Google Campus.

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