Saturday, November 24, 2007

Do you do Brand You?

How important is building your own brand?

Whether its as an entrepreneur, an employee, a mother or whatever you happen to be, does this really matter?

My guess is that for those three characters above, many people [including myself] would probably easily rank personal branding in descending importance - from highest for an entrepreneur to lowest for a mother. But lately I'm not too sure that's exactly right.

After all, as an employee, don't you only get paid what you think you're worth? And doesn't a brand define value? So, by implication, the better I can build my self-brand as an employee, surely that means it will result in better pay and promotion opportunities.

And as a mother, if your kids have no respect for you as a mother [ie the brand that you portray], what chance do you have of teaching and guiding them well, and bringing them up as healthy, well-adjusted individuals?

Therefore, I think its equally important to all. The scary thing is that your personal 'brand value' is not only relevant to people within your sphere of influence, but to the world - it's how the world perceives you. Full stop.

Respected magazines such as BusinessWeek and FastCompany have expounded on the virtues of self-branding for individuals, and even Anja Merret has chatted to her generation about it too. For those looking for a bit more practical guidance on this topic, Tom Peters wrote this interesting "Brand You Survival Kit".

It's actually been interesting watching the rise of the [my name].com generation - going way back to the feud over Madonna.com right up to where we sit now at every_tom_dick_and_sally.com. But it's working. People are seeing [and creating] value through this process. So why am I so resistant to it?

Well, to me it would seem that my personal brand could be the most important thing in my daily life. And that's DANGEROUS... because that statement means that its all about me. And despite how much the little voice inside my head might want that to be true, its really not.

So I would have to say that what I take out is this - I will have to embrace [rather than just succumb to] the idea of Brand You [Brand Me]. And while doing so, I will have to be verrrrrrrry careful not to get caught up in it, because that's a slippery slope most likely leading to the exact opposite result of that intended.

Anyone with me on this?

2 comments:

Anja Merret said...

There is nothing wrong with focusing on 'me'. In fact, it's the only way to survive!

Paul said...

I think there is a difference between a personal brand and a personality cult. In the first case the brand is largely a reflection of your integrity and perception generally and that impacts on the value you add through whatever you are doing.

In the second case the illusion of value is dependent entirely on who you are and not at all on what you are about and what your contribution to a given project is.

At least, the first scenario is what personal branding is about for me ...