Reputation not brand

I only knew David Carr by reading his column almost every week. Since he died last week, I’ve read a lot of the various remembrances of him because, now that I’m learning more, he was a fascinating person.

But one of those pieces in particular got me thinking quite a bit about reputations vs brand. It all started with a line Jelani Cobb wrote in the New Yorker about David Carr

Yet he never stopped being a newsman in the old mold: he didn’t develop a brand; he built a reputation.

This line struck me and I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read it last Friday. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of freelancing. And freelancing is running a business, many would say that it’s also building a brand.

Many of the articles I read about running your business talk quite a bit about brand building, but I’ve never related to this. I know that I’m a small business, but since it’s just me, I tend to think of the business as me. And I’m not a brand, I’m a person.

So instead of building a brand, I’m trying to build a reputation. That resonates with me, that makes sense to me. And that will help me in whatever I do, business or not, in the future.

(Huge thanks to Allen Tan for pointing me towards the New Yorker piece.)