The Roots of Personal Branding

by Meg Guiseppi on September 7, 2010

A friend and colleague Galen Tinder, senior consultant and manager for Ricklin-Echikson Associates, wrote an excellent article, The Promise of Personal Branding, in the August Worldwide ERC (Workforce Mobility Association) Mobility Magazine.

He describes personal branding as “a means by which a person establishes a consciously crafted and public professional presence and status in his or her field and the world at large.”

Describing the historical context of personal branding, he explains its evolution from the convergence of two trends forty years ago:

1. The shattering of “the implicit assumptions of employer-employee loyalty” with the massive layoffs in the 1970’s. Employees could no longer count on lifelong or even long-term employment with one company.

2. The consequent empowering of employees to take responsibility for their careers and re-examine the purpose of work.

The notion emerged that jobs should provide benefits beyond monetary compensation. People also came to expect fulfillment and meaning from their jobs.

“As these two trends entrenched themselves in the developed world, we were convulsed by a communication revolution that is still hurtling forward at a torrid pace and transforming the ways in which human beings communicate with and relate to each other. Technology has multiplied the means and the reach of individual self-expression on every imaginable level and in doing so has given us the tools for personal branding with the touch of a computer ‘on’ button.”

The article covers the how’s and where’s of personal brand development and communication:

  • Defining your brand
  • Branding four critical career documents
  • Social media branding
  • Where to begin and stop with branding in the virtual world

Further clarifying, Galen’s social media personal branding basics are essentials to understand and embrace:

1. Consistency

For your brand to thrive, reinforce it by communicating the same value message across all social media and networking channels.

2. Digital dirt

You are being Googled by prospective employers, business partners, customers/clients, and just about anyone who is considering associating with you in some way.

Monitor what they are finding when they Google your name, avoid posting anything that will discredit you, and clean up any existing dirt that you can control.

3. Generosity

Practice “give to get” networking. Be helpful and share your expertise to solidify your brand. “Generosity does more for self-branding than the blinkered pursuit of self-interest.”

4. Authenticity

In the long run, tiresome self-promotion doesn’t work. Instead of branding yourself as “selling”, focus on being authentic and your true character and abilities will be crystal clear.

The article includes plenty of valuable resources, and concludes with Galen’s take on the impact of social media on branding and job search:

“Social media is profoundly democratic. It opens up the world of careers, professions, and job search to anybody who is interested and, pulling us into a maelstrom of information and conversation in which we are both learners and teachers. We are not judged by the number of degrees after our name, the number of books we have published, but by the quality of our contributions and actions.”

Related posts:

10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand

What Personal Branding is NOT

Executive Branding: Personal vs Career Branding

The True Measure of Your Executive Brand

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