Educate September 2017

Book Review: “Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success” by Robin Fisher Roffer

Written By: Sharon Brown, Prospect Strategy Analyst, University of Florida Office of Advancement

Taking the time to reflect on the day and make honest assessments is key to branding and results in something that is truly you.

Personal branding has been on my mind for a few months — the seed was planted at an entrepreneurship symposium I attended in March. One of the speakers at the event was a personal branding expert, and in her talk, she referred us to a classic 1997 article from Fast Company magazine titled “The Brand Called You.” From there, I kept seeing references to branding everywhere, including in this magazine. When I saw “Make a Name for Yourself” on the new book shelf at the library, I had to give it a try.

The funny thing is that this book was published in 2000, something I didn’t notice until I was halfway through. Maybe it was new to the library? In any case, it didn’t feel dated at all, and author Robin Fisher Roffer’s advice is still relevant and useful.

Roffer is a marketer at heart as well as founder and CEO of her company, Big Fish Marketing. This was her first book, and she has written several since, including one published in 2017 called “Your No Fear Career.” But first, in “Make a Name for Yourself,” she teaches readers how to apply brand strategies to their own careers. Part guide and part workbook, her eight steps come with examples and targeted exercises designed to get you to think, evaluate, decide and act to establish your own brand.

Throughout the book, we get to follow three former clients as they work through their own branding journeys. With each step, Roffer shares anecdotes about the clients and we see how their brands start to take shape. It’s a nice touch that adds to the book and its usefulness.

You likely already give some regular thought to her sixth step: packaging. Personal appearance and the person we show the world is unquestionably part of branding. Other steps may not be as familiar but are equally important. Step three — to reflect on and examine what is stopping you — stood out to me. Taking the time to reflect on the day and make honest assessments is key to branding and results in something that is truly you.

Some of Roffer’s questions might make you uncomfortable, and you might scoff at others. For example, she asks you to consider: If you were a product, what would you be? What tagline speaks to you? Are you a sports car, a classic watch or an energizing smoothie? Are you “ram tough” or are people “in good hands” with you? She gets you thinking creatively and then focuses on practical tasks and tactics that help define your brand.

Even though Roffer marketed “Make a Name for Yourself” to women, any gender can use her expertise and advice. She explains that at the time she decided to write the book, there was nothing available that addressed branding from a woman’s perspective. This book asks a lot of the reader, but the time is well-spent. It’s time to take your brand into your own hands. Why? As one of the best taglines in advertising history reminds us, “because you’re worth it.”


SHARON BROWN is a Prospect Strategy Analyst with the University of Florida Office of Advancement. A graduate of UF’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, she is happy to have found a career that marries reading, writing and being curious. She and her husband, also a CLAS alum, live in Gainesville.

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