I stumbled upon a debate about personal branding started by Geoff Livingston of The Buzz Bin a few days ago with his blog post: I Don’t Care About Your Personal Brand. While I disagree with the overall message, he does bring up some interesting points.
(Mitch Joel at Twist Image responded with a post: Why You Need To Care More About Your Personal Brand. I encourage you to read both posts, the comments, and come to your own conclusion).
To touch upon a few of the key points:
“Personal branding is NOT for everyone.” Personal branding is for everyone who wants to live a happier and more successful life - if you have the drive to follow through with it. Half-assing it won’t achieve much, and might actually water down your brand if you aren’t consistent. A commitment to personal branding is required if you want to see results. Thus, personal branding is not for you if you’re unwilling to commit to it.
“Don’t use personal branding as a means of ’self promotion.’” Don’t waste your personal brand on a fake image just to try and get your few moments of fame. This will only hurt you in the long run. Authenticity is the name of the game. As we said in a previous post: “Your personal brand emerges from your search for your identity. It powerfully and clearly states what you want based on your values, vision and strengths. It promotes yourself based on who you are, what you stand for, what makes you unique, what your purpose is, and what value you offer to your specific audience. It is a path to self-awareness, joy and self-esteem. It is NOT creating and marketing a made up image - that’s the exact opposite of personal branding. Personal branding is 100% authentically YOU.” So don’t spend time on personal branding until your efforts stem from your genuine source of career energy.
“Ask yourself: does your personal brand offer any VALUE?” You can join every social network and have as many friends as you want, but if you don’t add any value, you’re wasting your time. Make legitimate connections with everyone you meet, not just “Thanks for accepting my friend request.” Engage people in thoughtful discussion. Your personal brand defines why you’re the best solution to a certain audience’s problems, so what value to you provide them? In short, don’t try to strengthen your personal brand without constantly creating content and value.
Consider these three points (the commitment required, the need to align your brand with your authentic self, and the value you provide) before starting your personal branding efforts.
Please feel free to leave comments here on how you feel about personal branding. For a breakdown of what personal branding is, see our post: Everything You Need to Start Building Your Personal Brand Right Now.