Why You Definitely Should NOT Create a Personal Brand

Wait, what? You shouldn’t have a personal brand?

On the contrary. Having a personal brand is really important for how people present themselves today. There are those who want to know who you are before they get in touch. Maybe a potential client, employer or employee. Someone from the media, a vendor or investor. A strong personal brand can make the difference between anyone out there that’s looking you up lean in – or yawn.

No, I said you shouldn’t create a personal brand.

Because that’s how a lot of people seem to approach it – backwards. Asking themselves what the world wants and then devising some persona to give it to them rather than saying, “This is who I am. This is what I’m about. This is what I’m good at. These things turn me on. This is my story. If those are the kinds of things that are meaningful to you, maybe my brand is for you.”

So you can refine your personal brand. Polish it. Hone it. Present it. But you definitely shouldn’t create it.

It’s already there. You just have to keep it real.

That is the single most important thing about personal brands – effective ones, anyway. They’re authentic. And whether we’re talking about personal brands or corporate ones, people can smell inauthenticity a mile away – and like most bad smells, if it stinks, they’ll try hard to avoid you. You’ve basically got one chance to make that first impression. So better make sure it’s unique and that it accurately reflects exactly who you are.

So, getting back to yours truly…

Authenticity is super important to me. In fact, conveying truth in communications is pretty much the foundation of what I do at natie Branding Agency for my clients or with authors at The 5 Percent Club. It’s inherent to everything I’ve written in public across different mediums, or my viral video “I’m That Jew” and my TEDx talk. So in developing a site for my personal brand, I worked agonizingly hard to deliver what I feel best represents me.

I wanted people to have one place where they can go to see who I am, what I do and what I’m up to – to hear and feel my story. As the founder and chief creative officer of an agency whose lifeblood is branding, there’s a lot of overlap between my company’s brand and mine. Which is fine – more than fine – it’s inevitable and right. I do a lot of stuff outside of natie, too, though, and they’re all critical components of who I am. So when I was thinking about my personal brand, I asked myself the same questions I ask about my company’s brand and my clients’ brands: Is it true? Clearly defined? Does it stand for something? Is it relevant? Strong? Does it hold everything I do together? Most of all, is it a presentation of attributes I really have? Does it reflect the true me?

In my case, I think it does.

If you’re considering developing your personal brand, or have already started, and the answer to that is not a resounding ‘yes’, then nothing else matters. Go back and start over. Start with the truth and go from there.

Where our personal brands are concerned (and yes, I’m going to get semantic here), we’re not creatives as much as we’re archaeologists unto ourselves. We uncover, we polish it a bit…then we present it to the world. Whatever you showcase, just make sure it’s the real you. Hope you enjoy my site. Peace out.

 

(The above is the transcription of my LinkedIn video based on the positive reaction.)