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Why I Hate the Term “Personal Branding”

by Megan on August 2, 2010

I just have to say something. Please stop talking about your personal brand. It makes you sound cold and impersonal. I don’t want to deal with a personal brand I want to deal with a person.

Worse yet, there’s the idea that this is something new. Personal branding is just a new way to talk about reputation. Well, you know what? Reputation is a much better word for that.

Personal branding implies you should be fake to make it (if you disagree, do let me know). Before you tweet, interact, blog, or walk down the street you need to think if it fits with the image you want to portray. Well, you know what, if there’s only one facet to your personality you’re not an excellent brand, you’re boring.

  • http://www.ayoungprofessional.com Anthony

    Agreed. But…sometimes you have to do some things just to make sure people are seeing you how you want to be seen. Reputation is based on your past actions. Your personal brand seems to me to be more future facing.

  • http://www.financeurlife.com doctor S

    I agree on some points. My major disagreement is the idea that you have to think about your “image” before tweet, interact, or blog. My definition is more trying to tap into various different mediums to solidfy a presence. I am trying to build my “presence” on as many mediums as possible for my site (twitter, fb, youtube, ustream, etc).

    For me, its more about just being seen than the perception that is created of what is seen. I like your rant b/c there are a ton of athletes/celebrities who are just robots with their online brand and come accross extremely lame!!! check out twitter.com/dwighthoward for one lame example.

  • http://www.marketingman.ca Brook Johnston

    Yes, reputation is the root concept that personal branding originated from – but in today’s age of digital representation, networking, blah, blah, it has become more important that you market yourself in ways that go beyond first hand experience with others.

    Blogging, tweeting, online portfolios/profiles, linkedin, and so forth…There’s a lot more representations of yourself nowadays, and a lot of it is visually driven.

  • http://www.riazkanani.com Riaz Kanani

    Agreed – brand came from the need to give companies an identity and reputation is a part of that. I can’t think of a reason why reputation in itself could not stretch to encompass the entire meaning of “brand” – it also removes the negative connotations around the word brand these days.

    At the end of the day though – both brands and reputations are there to be built and protected and only the right approach for whatever nee d(company or individual) will lead to success. Faking it is usually only a short term gain at best.

  • http://timberry.bplans.com/2010/08/is-personal-branding-really-impersonal-faking.html Is Personal Branding Really Impersonal Faking?

    [...] recommendations, and Megan shared that she didn’t like the term. She explained that recently in Why I Hate the Term “Personal Branding” on her blog: “Worse yet, there’s the idea that this is something new. Personal branding is [...]

  • http://twitter.com/thebrandpunk brand punk

    Interesting topic! First of all, I’m not a fan of all those marketing buzz words. What’s all this hype about social media for? Isn’t it just another way of word of mouth in a larger community. And at the end of the day doesn’t it all come down to common sense? i guess that would be way too simple, right?

  • http://parttimeperfectionist.com/my-5-favorite-posts-of-2010/ My 5 Favorite Posts of 2010 | Part Time Perfectionist

    [...] Why I Hate the Term Personal Branding – August, Part Time Perfectionist. There is no reason this post should make this list. I mostly wrote it for me, not for anyone else and it was on this blog so didn’t receive anywhere near the readership of these other posts. It’s not polished, and it’s quite short. That being said, I just had to include it. [...]

  • http://twitter.com/dqchronicle DataQualityChronicle

    While I agree that reputation is a better term than personal branding, your analogy impies that to have a reputation you need to be cold and fake.u00a0 Not always true, though.u00a0 It sounds like someone upset you and they use the term personal brand.u00a0 On Twitter I’ve met quite a few nice, warm, and true people with an impressive personal brand.

  • http://twitter.com/dqchronicle DataQualityChronicle

    While I agree that reputation is a better term than personal branding, your analogy impies that to have a reputation you need to be cold and fake.u00a0 Not always true, though.u00a0 It sounds like someone upset you and they use the term personal brand.u00a0 On Twitter I’ve met quite a few nice, warm, and true people with an impressive personal brand.

  • Chris Sojo

    I despise fucking personal brands. Every semester I have one freaking prof who demands a personal brand statement. DON’T HAVE ONE, OKAY??? ANYTHING I COULD COME UP WITH WOULD BE BULLSHIT. Why can’t i just focus on doing excellent work? Why is that not enough for these assholes? I may well have to drop out this semester because there is NOTHING that would work as a personal brand. How do you do an unbranded personal brand? True identity goes beyond self image.