Another Branding Question

Ask Mary ~

Sarah Dove, Director of the Career Center at Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics, sent this request after my July 19 Minute on branding.

How about a follow-up piece on one’s “personal brand?”

Answer ~

Similar to branding, it’s a new term for a timeless concept, with some interesting twists. Before “personal brand” was popularized, people had an image, and before that, a reputation. Historically, “name” (or “good name”) was commonly used. Several cultural shifts have coincided to shape this current iteration, starting with the evolution away from long term careers with just one or two employers. People now change jobs and careers. It’s quite acceptable, and moving toward being the norm. New technology and other cultural changes have led to a dramatic rise in the numbers of self-employed, independent contractors and “solopreneurs.” For the generations that prized stability and security, your reputation – the collective opinion of your character and esteem in your community or company – was critical to your success. Younger generations prize their independence and mobility, and are seeking meaning, opportunity and achievement. People now want a personal identity that is more explicit, more immediate, less subtle, less intangible. Thanks to the Internet, we are more visually sophisticated and more personally visible than ever before. These and other trends have resulted in a talent marketplace that has become far more complex. As the branding craze swept our media-saturated workplaces, personal interpretations have joined the branding party.

Stay tuned – Next Week: What I like about personal branding

Note to Leaders ~

No one, and especially not leaders, can escape the fact that actual performance and earned credibility are essential. Genuine character and capabilities are still the 80% foundation of your “personal brand.” Your style, personality, appearance, flair, social media image, on-line profiles, website, business card, and social skills (or lack of any of the above) are the other 20%. A “personal brand” is based on real attributes and accomplishments, not wishful thinking or creative chutzpa.

A Personal Note ~

Last week marked my 29th anniversary in business. This milestone evokes a feeling of deep appreciation for the people who value the work that I do. I am honored to be a part of your leadership journey.