Over the last few days I’ve seen some chatting on Twitter about personal brand. I was very surprised by how many folks had a rather negative view of what it means to create and be proud of a personal brand. Perhaps my connotation is different than others, but let’s stop for a moment and think about what a personal brand is.
Brand, by definition, talks about “a type of product” among many possible definitions. This could be the reason that people don’t like the phrase “personal brand” being used as it may imply that you have created some product that is for consumption.
This is where I think we have to be especially aware of what it is that we do as we put ourselves out there online in any of a plethora of ways that we have available to us. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, your blog, your forum posts, or any contribution you do even in person in the office, it is uniquely you. That, in my mind, is your stamp on your presence. That is your personal brand.
The oddity around the push back on the honesty and openness of a personal brand is that opponents to the concept probably have some disclaimer saying “opinions are mine” or “tweets are my opinion and do not represent my employer”. They are right, because it is their personal brand.
You’re Selling Yourself, so Be Proud
If we think of the phrase “selling yourself short”, you have to also agree that the other side is true. Every single day we are selling ourselves, in the best of ways. Whether it’s to sell an idea you have to a colleague, or to your family. Even something as simple as choosing dinner is really a bit of a sale and an influence that is being done to pitch some ideas.
I don’t see this as a negative. In my mind, I’m proud of everything that I create. Even the things that don’t always stick, I have a deep pride in the process of ideation to creation. What happens over time is that we start to be able to identify certain things such as writing voice, phrasing, vocal recognition, style, and other “isms” that can become immediately recognizable by others around you as coming from you. That’s the reason that we start to read something from someone we know personally and you hear it in their voice, even just from the written words.
I’m proud to say that I have a personal brand. It’s what I put out every day. I didn’t create it for public consumption. It’s me. I just happen to have made DiscoPosse the moniker that many people associate to it. As noted in the Wikipedia page “The experiential aspect consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand”. If you created an experience map of yourself, you’ll find that it as the annotation of a development of your personal brand.
If nothing, we should sell ourselves TO ourselves every day. Stop and think about that sometimes, because it’s important. Think about what you are doing to elevate yourself in some way every day. This can also stretch to how you impact others in your community.
Your brand is strong. It’s your personality, not a product. Wear it proudly.
3 thoughts on “On the Value and Importance of Personal Brand”
When I see people complain about personal brand, I ask them why they think a person’s reputation is unimportant, because ‘brand’ is just another term/view for reputation. While reputation:brand isn’t direct mach, they are close enough for most purposes as a reputation is reflected in a brand, and a brand impacts a reputation.
Parts of ‘brand’ include
– whether a person is into lots of bells and whistles such as the baroque style, or are very K.I.S.S. and utilitarian like Googles main search page used to me and is still as compared to the first generation of search landing pages where.
– some exaggerations to make a point, such as being great on presentation with lots of bell and whistles, or being focused on the core substance by being rather plain on the presentation (eg my web to essentially ‘say’ please stop asking me to make web sites for you cause that is not my thing, read the words to know what my thing is)
I think many people see “brand” as a commercialization and dehumanizations of a person. You aren’t Eric or Rob, anymore, you’re the brand that Eric or Rob represents. There’s probably some truth to that, but like all things, it should be done in moderation – being yourself is a good way to build your brand, and only put on the formal trappings when entertaining clients or presenting at a conference, etc.
Of course, this works best when your personality and your personal brand aren’t that far apart. For instance, I try and curse less when presenting, but otherwise I’m pretty much just being me. That’s not the case for everyone, and that’s where I think the metaphor can become strained and problematic for some.
I get where you’re going with this, but this concept has had a very discrete marketing definition for about a decade. I just published a post with my thoughts: http://ginaminks.com/wordpress/on-the-dangers-of-a-personal-brand/