Everywhere you look these days, there's people writing, talking, and bragging about their own personal brand. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Digg have become a highway for making connections and exchanging information; too much information, in my opinion.
Media experts contend that developing your personal brand will get you employment, sustain your career and maybe even get you a Reality show! Do we really need to spend money and time to develop our personal brand? Or is it a way for PR firms and communication specialists to revive their own stagnant career.
There was a time in business where you just went to work, did your job, became active in your industry association and collected a paycheck. Your "personal brand" was only important to the salespeople where image and networking were imperative to success, along with a few hangovers to affirm you drank too much while networking.
Quite frankly, I am overwhelmed by the information that is sent to me about everyone's "personal brands". I admit that I also send too much information out to my Facebook friends and LinkedIn business associates. I try to send them information on articles that I write that will have value to them without seeming so self- promoting, but it's a thin line between being informative and adding to just more clutter in people's lives.
The question remains: If everyone is busy building their own personal brand trying to separate themselves from the masses, then where is the audience they are looking to attract? Do we have too many "stars" and not enough followers?
Intrigued by this personal branding concept, I met with the self-described master of personal branding, Dan Schawbel, whose book, Me.2 (www.personalbranding.com) has garnered some good media coverage. His internal PR person found me and asked if I would do a story on him.
Dan is one of the most driven people I have ever interviewed. This
Raised in an affluent household where his father owned numerous businesses and his grandfather had real estate holdings. Dan says money is not important, but reaching his goal of opening up a personal branding university is. Always small and slender, he was bullied as a child and believes that his non-stop drive is based on "proving people wrong". Dan picked his career path at 18-years old and hasn't stopped "running" toward his goal.
Dan has the following advice on personal branding:
- Be known for something.
- Get your name out there.
- Know what your brand is and what your story is. Brand has to match with something you are currently doing.
- Set your long-term goals.
- Brand for the career you want, not for your job.
- Use the Facebook, LinkedIn, Tweeter social networks to brand.
- Create a flawless profile. Pay attention to what you say on the social networks to positively reflect who you are.
- Talk about something that solves someone's issues versus self-promotion.
- Secure domain names.
- Invest in your website and PR.
Dan says, "The world's moving too fast and you need to develop your core skills and stay relevant by keeping in touch with trends. Be genuine and make things happen."
I have no doubt that Dan will reach his goal of building his brand into star status by being a leader in his field. He will not stop until he does! It takes passion, an inordinate amount of time, money and commitment to build a personal brand. Are we up for the challenge or can we still be successful without a fully developed personal brand? I'm following his advice, I'll let you know!