It would be fair to warn you. There will be a reoccurring theme on our blog here the next few weeks. At least once a week I’ll be taking on what I find to be personal branding shenanigans.
My intention in doing this is to break through some of the nonsense I see around personal branding.
Also to help you focus on what truly matters and to help you with tips and advice on exceeding at whatever it is you do. So each post will slightly rail on personal branding but it will always have a very strong point.
So do you have a personal brand or a personal image?
The personal brand or the personal image?
Here is where we have the difference. What really got me thinking about this was this post here How to Create a Personal Brand without Being a Jerk. It wasn’t so much the subject of the post as to some of the points made. Then Joshua and I went back in forth with some comments.
I believe a focus on a personal image is more important than any thought about a personal brand. You can’t control a brand. I hope this goes without saying as well– that you should focus on being great at what it is you do. This above all else builds your image or errr.. your brand.
Take the example of Steve Jobs. Sure you could argue he has a personal brand, but not really. The feeling and the things that you feel or think about him are a result of his actions. How he has guided Apple and how he has created one of the most innovative companies of our time. Also his ability to speak, reason, persuade and sell a crap load of Apple products probably doesn’t hurt his “personal brand”.
Sure there are discussions of positioning statements, personal statements, and personal positions an executive must take. Which leads me to the point that I think is critical.
I don’t think a brand is something you can control. I read a post a while ago about the difference between a brand and an image. I agree with what is contained in that post. To me there is a difference between what a brand is and what an image is.
You can craft your image. You can change your image. You can try to change your brand but it will be tough if your brand is not consistent with your image. I know this seems like splitting hairs but I don’t think it is.
Why is this Important?
It’s important because when you go about stuff such as crafting your elevator statement or working on your business cards. When you do these types of things you are working on your image, not your brand. But personal brand evangelists like to say you are working on your personal brand.
I would say the next steps are to make sure what you do, what you wear, the vocabulary you use, and your actions are consistent with what your target market would expect (or tolerate).