Personal Branding is About Doing

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One of the great themes out in the blogosphere right now is called Personal Branding. Personal Branding says, in essence, that each of us have a personal brand that is being associated with ourselves whether we like it or not and we should work on developing our own brand.

It’s a worthwhile exercise to do. One that I’m working on myself as I think a personal brand will go a long way to define what kinds of things I want to be working on in my professional and personal life.

Right now, there’s a ton of information out there on “how to develop your personal brand” and how to go about creating it.

That, if you’re not careful, is the trap.

You will casually remember that Six Sigma was to become the Next Big Thing for Corporations. Just like Total Quality Management. Just like that great new strategy in your department. Just like that really focused goal that came out just three months ago. Just like that Really Important Thing that happened last week.

The trap of all of these items is in the execution of them. Or lack of it. We spend lots of time talking about these things, figuring out the strategy through brainstorming, taking notes and coming away with what we think we need to do next.

Then it all sort of floats away as the next big thing comes along.

You see, to really create a personal brand, you can’t just stand around thinking about it, plotting it out on your piece of paper, and coming up with the five things to do to create the brand.

You actually have to go do them. And that’s where we fail.

All the great plans, definitions of what needs to be done, and all the analysis completed on defining your personal brand means nothing unless you go out and live your brand. Doing the work still matters. Getting stuff done that supports your brand is what actually creates your brand. Getting the hard stuff done is what builds your skills with your personal brand.

Not the planning. Not the definitions. Not the analysis. It all helps, of course, but what makes the personal brand is living it.

  • Scot,

    I think you’re hitting on the same points I mentioned. I am a big advocate for word-of-mouth marketing–make the product worth remarking about. You have to bring substance to your work or you will create negative word of mouth. This is personal branding kryptonite, so its definitely worth being a core personal branding concept.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    My commentary with this particular posting was that there is too much emphasis on the marketing, differentiating, and creating of personal brands – and not enough about delivery of the work that supports the brand.

    Somehow, the personal branding mantra has been separated from the work needed to support the personal brand.

    I agree that it is important to create the brand. Put in the effort to determine the differentiation you have to others.

    But don’t forget that all the marketing in the world doesn’t help if you don’t deliver on the tasks you have from your manager right now at your work. Having the differentiation doesn’t work when you don’t deliver the product to the customer. Having a great elevator speech about the brand doesn’t matter when you can’t explain why you are three days late on a deliverable and didn’t tell anyone it would be late.

    So, yes, develop the personal brand. But what will last, as Rebecca notes, is the work we do today that reinforces the personal brand we have.

  • Personal Branding is not only about self-promotion although that is a very big piece. Personal Branding is branding yourself like a good company would do.
    Create a good product (like you mention in your post)
    Market it well
    Dan is right about saturation. There are a lot of great “products” on the market. How do you stick out? You better market yourself well.

  • I’m always amazed- whenever I read a post on personal branding, Dan Schawbel has commented. Simply amazing.

    Anyway, I agree with you that it’s the delivery and action and finding out what “personal branding” is, because I actually disagree with Dan. Personal branding will not be around forever. It’s essence will, but a new name will be conceived and a new way to go about it will be produced.

    We should all use these trends to rejuvenate us towards our goals, but not get too caught up so that we are focusing on what matters at the end of the day.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    I agree that there is relevance to personal branding — my point is that unless you actually live the brand you forfeit all the work you did figuring out what the brand is and what to do with it. Delivery counts; a personal brand can’t just be something that we talk about.

  • I think personal branding will always be more relevant because there are two major drivers here: social media and competition/market saturation.

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