Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Personal Branding - Not Just for People with Gas Stoves and Bent Hangers

Ramsey Mohsen, Kansas City's most recently famous blogger, focused his attention on "personal branding" early, early this morning. In a nutshell, everything you say or do, online or in person, builds a "personal brand", which can be made weaker or stronger by its level of consistency in the delivery of quality, tone and presentation.

It's one of those insights that makes me vacillate between "Duh" and "Wow". Developing a reputation is something we face all our lives, and have for generations. The ability to achieve a heightened level of notoriety, intentionally or otherwise, is broadened in the internet age.

I had an interesting day populated with fascinating people yesterday. I met a guy who has been falsely accused of a crime and is concerned about the fact that a google check on his name will deliver an account of his "crime", and what impact that may have on his future life. I had coffee with a thoughtful politician, who pondered whether bloggers change the "gotcha" atmosphere of life in the public eye, or whether they merely amplify it. I sat and chatted with an up and coming political insider, who thanked me for not directing even positive attention in their direction, because it would have generated more notoriety than is sought.

3 people, each dealing with new media and its impact on their reputations. In each case, the new media seems destined to present a shallow, cardboard version of the truth. In the case of the latter two, much of their success lies in manipulating images, but they struggle with the fact that they don't control their own brand images. In the case of the non-criminal, he just wishes he wasn't a "brand" in the first place.

Ramsey Mohsen writes that "Personal Branding is about building and managing the associations/images the public has in regard to yourself about a specific field(s) or topic(s)." He's wise to focus trying to build and manage your own personal brand, but that is only a portion of the picture. In many, and perhaps most, cases, the building and managing is done by someone else entirely.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Doc said...

well said.

google -and its inevitable progeny-are the overlords of the new hive mind: once you post it, it's no longer yours.

tangentially, i personally find it fascinating that so much seeking for individualism on the ‘tubz only results in more and more Borg-like behavior, both virtualy and in meat-space.

9/09/2008 9:07 AM  
Blogger Ramsey Mohsen said...

Fair enough -- there's only so much you can do in regards to how everyone else will provide their take on "you" or "the story". But I think your taking a more pessimistic view on the concept. While its easy to point out the bad that can occur, think of all of the people, bands, contacts -- all of the positive careers and life connections people have made because of a positive personal brand established purely online.

What I would say is "it comes with the territory." Be ready. You're putting yourself out there, and I would be the first to admit -- because of the anonymity context, you'll catch a lot of negative along with the good.

9/11/2008 11:21 PM  

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