Summary of The Brand Mapping Strategy

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In the space of six months, Karen Tiber Leland faced an extraordinary number of life changes. First, she got a divorce, then she moved away from California, then, her father and stepfather died. If she wasn’t a wife, a Californian and a daughter, who was she? A yearlong research project led her to recognize that it’s the energy you bring to a role, not the role itself, that defines you. In this Talk at Google, Leland discusses strategies and experiences that shape your personal brand, the 12 brand archetypes, and steps you can take to build your brand online.

About the Speaker

Karen Tiber Leland is the founder and CEO of the Sterling Marketing Group, and author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand and many other books.


Don’t conflate your role with your brand. Roles will end, but you’ll bring your brand archetype with you wherever you go.

You play many roles in your life – you may be a parent, a spouse, someone’s child or sibling, and you probably play a specific role at work. The problem with identifying too closely with your current role is that eventually, the role will end. You can lose your job, a parent or spouse or child might die, and then you may find yourself asking, “Who am I?” 

You are not your job title or even your specialized knowledge. Your true contribution, or your brand, has more to do with “the weather you bring with you.” For example, you may be training for a marathon, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a “marathon runner.” Instead, it makes you a person who likes to challenge yourself – it’s your intrinsic qualities, not what you do, that matter. 

Take, for example, the role of being a traffic cop on New York City’s busy streets. Most traffic officers do their jobs with knowledge and precision, but once, Leland observed an officer who brought something completely different to the role. This officer was vibrant...

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