The New Stupid, Part 2: Turning Your Nose Up at Personal Branding
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on March 1, 2012
I just read an interesting, well-written blog post. Intrigued, I checked the writer’s About page to learn more about her before I subscribed to her blog. Here’s how she rewarded me:
“I hate to talk about myself because I never know what to say. If I have to talk about myself, I feel like I’m bragging.”
Seriously? I come to you with a desire to know more about you, and all you can say about yourself is that you’re embarrassed? The old creative director and brand consultant in me wanted to howl.
Personal branding is not about you.
Personal branding is about being helpful to your reader or viewer. If you are blogging or tweeting or posting or pinning, followers have a logical need to know more about you. Readers have to decide whether you’re a credible resource and if they should come to you for future entertainment or insight.
If you shirk this task, you disappoint rather than help the reader categorize you as a wit, a word player, a chess expert, a world authority on Microsoft apps, or whatever it is that you offer your social community.
Branding is not selling.
Individuals often have an aversion to thinking of themselves as a commodity. “I’m a person, not a bar of Dial!” one of our students cried in a recent class.
But think of the reason behind multimillion-dollar brand taglines such as Nike’s “Just Do It” or FedEx’s “When It Absolutely Positively Has to Be There Overnight.” Businesses create brands in order to separate their products from the zillions of other products that compete for your dollar.
So it is, too, in our new world of social influence; we all “compete” with one another for time and attention. If you identify one or two things you are passionate about, you can become known for your expertise. As you continue to reward people who follow you with your unique knowledge and point of view, your name starts to mean something.
It’s a short form of ID.
Whether you work for a company or are an entrepreneur, the principle of branding yourself with a singular identity is the same. You pick one thing you want to be known for. Here’s a short list of solid personal brands you can emulate.
- Jessica Crispin. The Book Slut
- Microsoft’s Chris Jackson. The App Compat Guy
- Emily Koon. Writer, fear biter
- Meeting Boy. I hate my job
A brand doesn’t have to be serious and self-important.
It just has to represent you in a single-minded way. So back to our embarrassed and brand-phobic blogger. Darn it. I clicked away and forgot to save her link. And so it goes with people who don’t set themselves apart from the crowd.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are some recent posts on branding.
- Snide, Snarky, and a Handicapped Parker: Steve Jobs’s Dark Side Didn’t Harm His Brand Appeal
- A Case History on How to Multiply a Singular Brand Identity
- Your Bio’s Great, But Your Author Photo…
- In Branding: Multiple Personality = Fractured Identity
Two Pens will be happy to give you feedback on your personal brand if you comment here. We’ll tell you what’s working and make suggestions for improving what’s not.