It’s All About the Marketing, Baby

January 6, 2010 at 11:03 am 7 comments

NJS and I have been having a lot of discussions about personal branding lately. Most of our discussions involve me ranting in pajamas while watching the morning news, or having a glass of wine before I’ve eaten dinner and ranting in work clothes. One night after the latter, I was able to boil all of my ranting down to one clear point:

Be yourself.Go ahead and own that personal brand. Even if it's a little goofy.

A brand is a promise you’re making to your constituents. They know who you are because you tell them, “I am this.” and then you are. Brands are no good when companies don’t live up to their promises. Politicians are no good when they don’t live up to their promises. And neither are you. Whether you’re Pepsi or the President or a kid on the playground, figure out who you are and be that.

I overheard someone at work recently say that there was a negative connotation around the term “personal branding” – is there? Do you think it’s because some people connote branding with taglines and visual representation? Or that “personal branding” can manifest itself in things like overpriced personalized shoes? Do you live up to your own brand?


Entry filed under: marketing, NJS, social media. Tags: , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Terry Dias  |  January 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    The thing I don’t like about the term “personal branding” is that it sounds marketing-driven, meaning you’re trying to “sell” something to someone… and therefore the “branding” effort is not about being yourself, but more about convincing OTHERs of something and eliciting a particular response. It sounds like too much work to me.
    Nevertheless it is true, we do “market” ourselves in a way. I want to be treated like a respectable person, so I don’t dress like a hoochie. I want people to think I am fun, so I plan get-togethers. Hard to see where the line is drawn of what I do for myself, and what I do so that I will feel comfortable that others percieve me a certain way…
    Hm, food for thought, Jen.

  • 2. Jennifer Scott  |  January 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    All good points – but if you are who you are there’s little or no need to convince anyone of anything. They believe it because you are. Think of it in terms of positives: you don’t set out to dress NOT like a hoochie, you set out to dress who you believe yourself to be. Because of that, people don’t see you as a hoochie, and you don’t need to sell yourself as the anti-hoochie – you just are.

    Wonder if anyone else out there is throwing around the word “hoochie” as much in their branding conversations?

  • 3. sarah  |  January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Interesting! I’m in the UK, so maybe that’s why I think that “personal branding” sounds new to me. But, in essence, it sounds like a discussion about integrity: I want to live a life that is in line with who I believe I am and how I think I should act. Interesting; thanks for your thoughts.

    • 4. Jennifer Scott  |  January 12, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Sarah, it’s definitely that. I started really thinking about this a year or so ago while reading a book for grad school about leadership. I can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head – I’ll post it later this week – but the gist of what caught my attention was the idea that you make a list of your values and check yourself to make sure you’re living within your own values system. I started thinking about it and realized I was spending a lot of time at events after work and being seen, and while that was cool, it was leaving me broke and exhausted and feeling out of sorts because being good to myself and having a little money in savings is in line with my values system. It really changed the way I think and I think also really ties in with the concept of personal branding.

  • 5. Emily Dodd  |  January 6, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Call it what you may but I ask my direct reports ( and myself ) quite frequently several questions – How do you want to be perceived? How will you purposefully influence how you are perceived? I coach each of my reports that they have an influence on the role they play, how they are perceived and what they are known for – the personal brand they proport. I somewhat agree with be yourself, I say be who you want to be and live up to it.

    • 6. Jennifer Scott  |  January 12, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Good point, Em. This has me thinking about a follow up post re: your brand being comprised of who you are AND who you aim to be. In the end, the underlying factor that ties those together is that you have to be what you say you are and do what you say you will. If part of my personal brand is being healthy and I’m not going to the gym, I’d better get my butt to the gym, huh?

      Speaking of, I should probably go to the gym tonight.

  • 7. Erin Burry  |  February 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    To me, branding is a way for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, show their personality and establish relationships with their target/consumers through shared interests, values and beliefs.

    Without branding, every company looks the same, and we have no connection to any of them. Branding allows for personal experiences with the company, so then you can determine if they are the correct match for you, as the consumer.

    Personal branding is the same thing. Basically, it’s know what you want, how to do it and does your personality fit “this” company? If a company brands itself by lying to consumer about what they can do, then consumers will not trust that company. If someone lies to a company about what they can do in a job interview, then companies will not trust or want to hire you.

    That’s my take on personal branding — honesty, preparation and personality.


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