Those Murky Personal Brand Waters


As some of you know, I’ve been polling my online community to gage their feelings on personal brands.  Given my very outspoken nature against personal branding, it’s safe to assume that those who participate in active conversation with me likely skew unfavorably towards the self marketing theory.  Still, given the concept’s popularity I expected a much more polarized result than the above data.

What this chart shows are two small groups within this particular social network that feel strongly for personal branding (15%) or against it (21%).  However, if you consolidate the two middle of the road answers — depends and both — a vast majority feel ambivalent about personal branding (58%).  That’s a pretty powerful number.


What this tells me is that while people see the merits of personal branding, they also see the detriments.  Thus the uncommitted response of my fellow community members. We all want to look good and want to present ourselves in a becoming manner, but not to the point that we seem like over contrived, fake people. By its very nomenclature, the term “personal brand” creates a connotation towards the latter.

Take Aways

In the end, it’s about being smart.  Present a good face, but know that your reputation will ultimately be decided by the actions you bring to bear, not the consistency of your presentation. At best, the presentation will only get you a shot to be on the stage. Your performance is the ultimate barometer.

Also, if you’re a professional marketing yourself for either projects or career opportunities, be very wary of calling your public persona a personal brand. Whether or not you believe in the theory, many don’t and your choice of words could cost you the job, especially if it’s apples to apples. No one wants to add a team member that will put themselves ahead of the project, and that’s the worst case perception of a personal brand.

What do you think?


I am calling the remaining six percent who said none of the above “original thinkers.”