Who Are You At The Office?

Today’s Chicago Woman is running an interview with chief executive officer of Energy BBDO, Tonise Paul.

Q. How can someone build a personal brand or image? Is it as simple as wearing bright colored suits?
A. I had a male entrepreneur friend ask me once in a social setting, “Who are you at the office?” I answered, “I am me. The same person you know here. Who are you?” He answered in his usual jovial, fun-loving way, “Oh I’m an ——-.” After I picked up my jaw, I realized there are a lot of people who build an image that suits them professionally, but is not consistent with who they are personally. For that reason, I draw a distinction between “building an image” and “living your brand.”
The way to go about “living your brand” is to uncover what you do best and what’s most important to you. Those two things are the primary guideposts for building a strong personal brand. As for wearing shocking pink, if you’re passionate about pink and it’s a genuine reflection of you and what you want to express to the world, it works. The key is authenticity.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Amen!

  2. You’ve got to be kidding me???? This woman’s image is all cute — hence image and brand are indeed different. In fact, her brand is devoid of morals. She should have picked up her jaw upon reflection of the things she has done….