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.