The 85% Rule of Personal Branding

by Ryan Rancatore

A common misconception is that personal branding involves “all broadcasting, all the time”.  In actuality, to build a strong personal brand, the near opposite must be true.  You need to spend a much greater percentage of time bettering and refining your brand than actually showcasing it.  Thus, I’d like to offer the following “85% Rule of Personal Branding”:

While building your personal brand, allocate 85% of your time to behind-the-scenes work and allow 15% for public-facing activities.

The infographic below serves as a visual representation of the rule above.  As seen, the personal branding process can be compared metaphorically to an oceanic iceberg.  Only a small percentage of an iceberg is above water – the bulk of the structure remains hidden, under water.  The same principle applies to your personal branding efforts.  That which is public facing will only make up a small percentage of your actual body of work.


This “rule” need not be adhered to strictly, the percentages are merely a rough guide.  My hope is that it will serve as a reminder that the sometimes monotonous behind-the-scenes work is just as essential as your killer articles and well-timed blog comments.  A constant intake of information is what will inform and educate your brand, and a meaningful conversation behind closed doors can be more beneficial than 100 tweets.

What about you?  What percentage of your branding efforts are behind-the-scenes?

Update: After stellar feedback from Melissa Cooley and Angelique of AFMarCom, I’ve revised the visual to include “in-person networking” in the public view section, and “observe presentations” in the behind-the-scenes category.  An important distinction!

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