How do you label yourself?

When I was in 8th grade, my math teacher had a tradition of writing down little pithy comments about each student for the yearbook. She read them out loud at the end of the year, in front of the whole class. Her quote about me was: “pretty, pert little lady with an unexpected smile.”

It’s been 35 years since she gifted me with that observation, and it has stuck with me all this time. The power of labels runs deep.

But labels can either empower you or disable you—it’s your choice. How you identify yourself to the world, and how others publicly identify you, makes a big impact on your success. If you commit to a label strongly enough, behavioral science tells us that others will reinforce that label as well.

Labeling behavior happens applies to you as a business person, as well as your website or blog. Don’t forget to clarify your website’s purpose while you’re considering your own “tagline.”

How you label yourself

When you tell someone about your business, or your job, do you use the word “just” (e.g.,, “I’m just a blogger”) or do you minimize your accomplishments (e.g., “I run a small marketing agency—you’ve probably never heard of us”)? Stop doing that.

Be ready with a memorable response when someone asks you what you do for a living. “I’m the creative force behind ABC Agency,” or “I dish out innovative PR advice on a daily basis at the ABC Blog” or “I’m a wild and crazy guy!”

How others label you

Are you paying attention to how others describe you in conversation or online when they introduce you? Do other people know what your secret sauce is, well enough to relay it to others?

Try this experiment today: go ask a few people how they would introduce you at a networking event. Get a nice sampling from your family, a friend, a colleague, and an online acquaintance. I’ll bet the results are revealing!

Use your new “personal tagline” in your online profiles, bios for your guest posts, and corporate marketing materials. Use it when anyone asks you what you do. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to evolve your tagline over time.

And don’t forget to smile.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


  1. says

    I believe that if you take the chance of committing to something, someone else MAY believe it. If you don’t take that chance, no one will believe it.

    -best new marketing artist on the web

  2. says

    Before anything else, nice article. Actually, it is a very good one; one of the best articles this site produced. :) Although labels are a part of any kind of business, this article made a very comprehensive explanation on how to do that effectively.

    This has been shared and “Kingged” on the IM social networking site,

    Riza, contributor

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