Daniel fascinates me.
I have been studying the book of Daniel in preparation for the Branded by God Telestudy taking place this evening. Simultaneously, I have been reading Branding Pays by Karen Kang and have been amazed at how God has helped me make connections between the two—Daniel and personal branding.
It has been said that personal branding is nothing but showcasing who you are and what you specialize in and my Heavenly Father does that oh, so well. I know that might sound strange but God is the Master Marketer—the omnipotent one who by the very nature of who He is draws men, women, boys, and girls to Him. He specializes in healing broken hearts, setting captives free, “so loving the world”, and granting eternal life.
Even way back in the Old Testament, you can see how He orchestrates what I call Divine Personal Branding through those He chose and Daniel is no different. In fact, Daniel epitomizes Divine Personal Branding–discovering who you are in God’s eyes, knowing what He has called you to do, and then using your gifts and talents to serve those He has called you to serve.
The Incredible Account
Right out of the gate, in chapter one, it is clear that Daniel attracts King Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official Ashpenaz because he meets the king’s criteria. He is—
- A young man without any physical defect
- Showing aptitude for every kind of learning
- Quick to Understand
- Qualified to serve in the king’s palace
Then, we find out that Daniel makes a decision. He decides that he will not defile his body with the food and wine from the king’s table. He graciously makes his decision known to Ashpenaz, the very same chief official who selected him to be of service to the king in the next three years.
The beautiful thing is that God caused Ashpenaz to show favor and sympathy to Daniel and as the story is told, it becomes obvious that the two of them have an amicable relationship. Ashpenaz shares his concern for his life in regards to allowing Daniel to deny the king’s dietary plan and Daniel demonstrates his genuine concern for Ashpenaz’s well-being by “submitting” what I will call a proposal.
He suggests that Ashpenaz allow him and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) to do a trial run for ten days. They would eat only veggies and water during that time and then see if they still looked as debonair as the other young men who were also “in training.” Ashpenaz accepts the proposal, so only veggies and water are served to them.
The Bible says—
“At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So, the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.” (Daniel 1: 15-16 NIV)
But it gets even better.
The Bible also says—
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, so they entered the king’s service.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.” (Daniel 1: 17-21 NIV)
Divine Personal Branding Personified
Interestingly, there are some very evident principles of personal branding in this very first chapter of Daniel that I believe will help you as you walk in your Divine Personal Brand:
Personal branding begins with having a goal and a strategy to achieve it. That strategy involves positioning yourself as one who solves a problem or enables an opportunity.
A strong personal brand is the key to influence, opportunities and advancement.
Personal branding is not merely cosmetic. It must be fueled by substance. Concepts from Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand by Karen Kang
Daniel knew exactly what he stood for. He knew the exact impression he wanted to make. Because of his commitment to serve God, faithfully, he made a decision to be who God had called him to be even while he was being held captive by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Leviticus 11, God had already made it clear what He viewed as clean and unclean in terms of His people’s diet and unlike the other young men who had also been selected to serve the king; Daniel was determined to honor God even in the midst of this situation.
In doing so, he set himself apart. Not only did he distinguish himself from all of the other handsome, fit, intelligent, qualified young men, but he provided evidence that he was who he said he was when he (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) ended up looking healthier and better nourished than those who ate the king’s food.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah outshone even the king’s magicians and enchanters and the king found them 10x better.
Assess your personal brand and determine whether it is divine. In other words, ask yourself if you are doing what God has called you to do, using your gifts and talents in such a way that those who are drawn to you recognize that the hand of God must be on your life. Remember, that when you are in the zone, what you do appears effortless to those who observe you. This is the sure sign of walking in your divine personal brand.
Make a decision to never waver. Do what He has called you to do in the way He has called you to do it. In other words, differentiate yourself from the pack of folks who do what you do by sharing your knowledge but also by being known for something of value. Resist the desire to blend in with the world’s norms or ways of doing things. Hold fast to your faith and be the one to stand out.
Evaluate your brand image. Your image includes your brand associations, your visual branding and your relationship branding. Daniel appealed to Ashpenaz and King Nebuchadnezzar because he was attractive, smart, and well-informed. He also associated with others who held his same convictions. And, from what we see, he knew how to build relationships with not only his peers, but with those in authority. Likewise, you must determine whether your brand associations, external image, and relationship image align in such a way that you attract those you have been called to serve.
Finally, become an influencer as a result of being seen as the BEST person to deliver the solution.
It’s 2013 and time for the real believers to un-apologetically walk in our Divine Personal Brands.