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  • Jared Randle

How Finding Nemo Taught Me About Personal Branding

The first time I saw Finding Nemo I was ten years old. Nearly 15 years later, I realize in hindsight that this movie showcases a brilliant use of the most instrumental aspect of marketing; storytelling.


Finding Nemo, arguably the best animated film ever created, and a world renowned fan favorite, tells a truly classic story. Marlin, a clownfish, is overly cautious of his son Nemo, who was born with a withered fin. When Nemo swims too close to the surface to prove himself, he is caught by a diver. His father sets out on an epic and horrifying journey to find his only child. Along the journey, he meets a blue reef fish named Dory who has an extremely short memory. She joins Marlin and complicates his journey. Together they encounter sharks, jellyfish, and a whirlwind of dangerous obstacles on the mission to find Nemo.

Finding Nemo and Finding Ourselves

As the job market continues to grow in competitiveness, college students and recent grads will need to put more emphasis on adding additional value to our degrees by telling our own stories. If we are in some ways, our own walking and talking brands, how do we plan to establish ourselves as competitive and engaging?

Although it seems overwhelming at times, students of all areas of study, and especially marketing, need to consider how we personally brand ourselves. It can be uncomfortable to look back at what we have accomplished as “young professionals”, but if we want our peers and potential employers to see us that way, we need to first see ourselves in that light. Along the path to becoming an expert, I urge you to think about the characters from Finding Nemo a little differently.


Marlin is overly cautious and does not want to let his son out of his sight. Caution is good, but too much of this trait caused his worst fear to happen. In the same way that Marlin lost his son due to this characteristic, we can lose out on an opportunity of growth by being too worried about the outcomes. Create a plan, organize, and put it into motion. You will be surprised how larger goals get accomplished by creating small ones.


Dory’s claim to animated fame comes from her whimsical and naive personality which landed her and Marlin in a hilarious series of tumultuous events. Marlin even went as far as leaving her behind and continuing his mission without her. However, If we look back Dory’s most memorable line from the movie, it is possible that we were wrong about her. “Just keep swimming...just keep swimming”. After sharks, jellyfish, underwater mines, and everything in between, Dory relied on a fearless attitude. In your journey, there will be obstacles during the path of developing yourself as a brand, but pushing through them is the only true way around them.

Nemo (and friends)

Last but not least, we have Nemo. The shy and underdeveloped clown fish who found himself in the most unlikely of situations. From the start, we learn that Nemo has something to prove. His ambition puts him in an environment that he is neither expected nor prepared for. Through the adversity of being put into a fish tank, Nemo manages to befriend some fellow sea creatures and come out of the situation stronger than before. Your ambitions may seem hard to reach, burdensome to think of, and agitating to plan, but it is part of the process. Put yourself in new environments and meet people who are able to help you build yourself as a brand.

Key Takeaways

-Personal branding provides a clear focus for personal development while establishing yourself as a thorough leader (one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential).

-Personal branding allows you to stand out in an increasingly competitive world.

It helps you clarify and express the value you can deliver to your peers potential employers.

-It is less of a competition to see how visible you can become and more of an effort to see how you can grow professionally.

-Everyone has that degree, but do they have a distinct personality? A unique personal and professional history that immediately stands out? A natural ability to enhance a company’s culture? (Barry S. Saltzman, Forbes)

CHECK OUT this awesome link that has some guidelines and tips for starting out the thought process of creating a personal brand.

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