The Personal Branding Dilemma

You can’t NOT work on your personal brand. You have got one and you can never escape from it. It is “who you are” to the world. It is “your promise to the marketplace” and you are making one – whether you want it or not. Now, the real question is “how powerful is your personal brand?” This is something that is in your control. You can make a difference there by investing in yourself.

My hero Tom Peters introduced the concept of a Personal Brand in 1997 (more than a decade ago). It is wonderful to note that the concept is now taking off in a big way. Almost swinging to another extreme now. There is a popular model now to build your personal brand:

One of the reasons for the concept to take off is that the barrier to entry for many popular destination sites is very low. You want to start a blog – you can do that in less than minute. You want to broadcast “what are you doing” now to the world – sign up for Twitter – less than a minute. You can create a podcast in less than 10 minutes and you can create a website in almost the same time. In summary, creating a footprint on the internet is easy today. Anybody can do it and most pieces are FREE. So the popular model today is focused on quickly executing on the personal brand.  The model is flawed for the simple reason is that it is hard to distinguish yourself if you are joining the crowd of people who are just trying to distinguish themselves by doing what everyone else is doing. In fact, at a fundamental level, the very fact that you are following what is popular will preclude you from being distinct.

Alternatively, there is a long-term model to building a personal brand:

The long-term model for personal branding adds a few more pieces to the personal branding puzzle.

1. Relevant and Valuable Accomplishments:  The bedrock of any solid personal brand will be accomplishments that the marketplace determines as relevant and valuable. Nothing else. Why do people skip working on accomplishments? Simply because they are hard to do and the barriers to entry are high.

2. Supporting Structure: The next piece missing is the development of supporting structure to produce even bigger accomplishments – building on the earlier accomplishments. You can’t attract quality people to support you unless you first produce some accomplishments that are noteworthy. Of course, there are always exceptions based on your history but they are rare. You can’t do this alone – at least when you have big goals on your agenda. You need help. Actually, you need VERY GOOD help. That is the part of supporting structure that you need tow work throughout your lifetime to build.

3. Ability to Deal with the New Personal Brand: The last piece of the puzzle is your overall development to deal with the consequences of your new personal brand. People tend to dismiss this but it’s always important to be ready – to savor the success of your personal brand. There will be more things to deal with (like requests for help) almost on a daily basis. Without being prepared, you might just ruin what you have worked hard to build.

You can download the eBook “Personal Branding for Technology Professionals” (PDF, 40 pages) for FREE. The eBook has been downloaded around 165,000 times so far. Thank you for your support. While the eBook is targeted at Technology Professionals, the concepts are applicable to any knowledge worker.

Have a great week ahead!