commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
I agree with the concepts
Especially with online Personal Branding it is all about letting people know what you stand for.
The (perhaps sad) reality is that all entities (and especially any person with a public profile) have a "brand," i.e. a set of associations and concepts that people who are aware of that entity connect in their minds. Whether we choose to actively or passively influence those connections is a choice that self-aware (aka human) entities can make.
Personal branding may be "bullshit," but it's is very real, very influenceable, and there are plenty of strategic and tactical items that can be utilized by marketers.
I would agree with the article's general premise that an authentic personal brand is more powerful than an overly cannived one. But I disagree with the dramatic headline claiming that the concept itself is nonexistant.
I've heard those in the space (that advise on reputation - shall we say?) complain that the practise is misunderstood and that there is much charlatan advice spoiling it - not too dissimilar to SEO practitioner protests I suppose. It's like some business owners may wince when suggested they could benefit from some modern SEO, yet equally they welcome it when it's expressed as part of content or inbound marketing.
I came here to say pretty much exactly what Rand stated above. I believe strongly in the value of a personal brand, but I'm beginning to refrain from using the phrase publicly because of what the post is really attacking: people who think "personal branding" = building a veneer of well-crafted bullshit around yourself. An "image" rather than a reality.
To me, in this age where the individual can be more empowered and have more influence than ever before in history, a sense of your personal brand is essential. You need to know what you're after, and what specific value you bring to others. And you need to know how to promote yourself and build influence and authority without being a self-promoting assh*le. I know that last statement sounds like a contradiction ("you need to promote yourself...without being self-promoting"), but it's entirely possible, and we all know people who do it well.
Oooo... veneer. That's a very good metaphor, Mark.
Although a "veneer of bullshit" might be an image we'd all rather not have ;-)
Nah. Personal branding is a must. Especially for wage slaves working for companies or larger brands. Without a personal brand you are nothing once you get sacked. So make sure that everyone knows who you are and what you stand for. Also even with larger brands you need real people you associate with them. Just think Steve Jobs. That's also why Raven and other modern Web SEO companies like Koozai add a mix of both, company and personal brand.
I have a friend who recently got let go by Raven. Oddly enough, it was the personal brand that he'd built online during his time at Raven that helped him land on his feet very quickly ;-)
Ha! Not sure how this one got dug up. For the record, it was the very first blog post I wrote after my exit from journalism, after my first industry conference and after reading the stupidest Forbes article ever on Southwest plane ride home.
In short: before I was a marketer ;)
Also, it was poorly written. That's the part I hate the most. Alas, the Internet never dies. It was before I realized that, too.
One of the commenters summed it up how I felt best, but poorly articulated: "I think the problem is less that you have an issue with personal branding, but more that you take issue with the fact that a set of normal recommended professional behaviors has been given an annoying name."
Now, three years later, I would express that more clearly and reasonably. Probably make it ultra-sharable, too, like 7 Reasons To Call Personal Branding Bullshit ;)
That headline was dramatic, but it didn't claim that personal branding was nonexistent. Two of bullshits' meaning's are "stupid" or "nonsense," neither of which mean nonexistence. (If you feel like wasting 5 minutes, nonsense is loads of fun to play with at visualthesaurus.com. And Google tells me that bullshit appeared in English books first in 1882 but didn't rise to popularity as slang until the 1950s. This is when I would like to have a spare $295 for an OED subscription.) See? As a word nerd and a journalist by training, it's no wonder that 99.999% of the marketing ones annoy me.
Thanks for commenting Arlenne. I hadn't glanced at the date on your post (usually assume front-page stuff on Inbound is fresh!). I can think of plenty of stuff I wrote three years ago that I would cringe if it got to the front page here today.
The "now i know betters" aside...there is still a lot of wisdom in your post, which I think most of us recognized.
An article written almost 3 years ago to the day. Not only did Arienne talk us into using the word "Bullshit" in the title, she apparently wrote an evergreen article. Bravo!
Now that's a BIG Discussion :D