August 28, 2007 by Colin
How’s this for a “personal brand”? I don’t think I have to introduce Billy Beer. Personal qualities? Principal selling point? Emotions the marketer hopes to prompt? This picture of Billy Carter and his eponymous beer says it all.
The idea of a “personal brand” has become a familiar term, especially as a generation of ambitious and technically adept workers shape their identities at work, among their friends, in their community and with others in their profession.
It’s the logical extension of The Brand Called You – Tom Peters’ exhortation to strike your own path to personal and professional success.
“… It’s over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand …” (Fast Company)
That was 1997. We really didn’t understand what change the internet would bring in just a few years. I was still downloading .pdfs of the New York Times from Pointcast. Fast Company, whose design was edgy and innovative, was stuffed full of ads. I bought Christmas presents from eToys.
We had no idea that the internet would evolve, that it would eventually give every “me-preneur” a dozen different instruments to trumpet their personal brand. Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, blogs, online sites that solicit bylined articles by “experts.”
Despite the effort, some of these personal brands are, like Billy, one trick ponies. With a tin ear.
Whatever happened to uncertainty? Variety in thought and action? Floating ideas just to gauge the reaction? Rooting through sources, subjects and philosophies outside your comfort zone?
Apparently, that sort of behaviour won’t help your SEO. Your personal branding strategy. Your PageRank. Your ongoing campaign to segment and segment until you create a niche where you’re the only occupant.
But man, once you hit that sweet spot, you’ll have the power of buzz and exclusivity behind you!
At least until JR Beer comes along.
[tags] personal brand, Brand You, Tom Peters, branding [/tags]