There has been a great debate about personal branding going on over the last few days on several blogs as well a lot comments on Twitter. Geoff Livingston has just posted a follow up to a blog post he did recently I Don't Care About Your Personal Brand (which prompted a very thoughtful post on his own blog by Mitch Joel Why You Need To Care More About Your Personal Brand ) with Rebutting Six Arguments for the Personal Brand.
Well worth following - regardless of which side of the fence you fall - or don't.
Here was my response to Geoff's first post;
" Fair point Geoff and great article that has stimulated a lot of comments not just here and even made a personal brand fan think a bit more. (Full Disclosure - I make a living from helping people identify what their unique skills and attributes are and to communicate them more effectively whilst being themselves = personal branding).
It is always intersting to note that when something rises to a level of mass consciousness - which is where I believe personal branding is approaching then the opposite opinion appears as well. Great for debate and giving people more pros and cons to make an informed choice is always a good thing."
Which in turn prompted me to write "Personal Branding - Is it About to Change?" and then response to his second post:
Another thought provoking post to add to the conversation. You have some very valid points regarding personal brands and whilst I refrain from using the word (because I think it has been over used and lost its real meaning) personal branding is about being ‘authentic’ to yourself first and foremost and not creating false images or personas.
I believe that many people were ‘personally branding’ themselves way before Tom Peters wrote about it over 10 years ago. They used it to overcome potential career disadvantages or to maximise what they were good at to advance themselves - perhaps doing it unconsciously a lot of the time but still offering ” a service to the marketplace that’s communicated through visual and verbal communications, as well as the actual product/service experiences.” - ie. doing what they said they can do and producing measurable results.
The interesting shift with personal branding over the last couple of years has been that large corporations are embracing the concept of personal branding as an employee engagement and development initiative and myself and a number of other personal brand strategists are involved in several such programs with F500 companies to help them do that.
Whilst I agree people may not want to work for you just because you ride a Ducati, I would offer to suggest that it might be a deciding factor for someone weighing up whether they want to work with a ’suit’ or a ‘leather jacket’ !
Even you identify that “There is more than a handful of people operating under this masthead, all with their own personal brand identities.” - exactly the reason that other companies are embracing this approach to stand out, perhaps you have been ahead of the curve, or just did not put the personal brand ‘label’ on it until now, but I think its personal branding just the same.
Thanks again for the continued discussion, I look forward to tracking this conversation as avidly as the last."