Personal Branding Is a Bunch of B.S.

That title is a surprise coming from a personal branding consultant.

There are many people who would agree that personal branding is a bunch of B.S. They firmly believe that it is a bunch of snake oil sold by social media gurus trying to inflate the low self-esteem of wannabe experts and egomaniacs.

You know what? I don’t doubt that such people to make a buck off of a perceived trend. That’s true for all industries. There are alsoqualified professionals helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals by positioning themselves as brands.

“How Can a Person be a Product?”

That question is perhaps the heart of the issue opponents have with personal branding. It seems cold, calculating, and unrealistic to consider one a product. However, when you are a solo-preneur, you are the product of your business.

Personal branding is not about creating a false image or “fake it ‘till you make it” mentalities. Rather, it is creating strategic plan for to build your business and reputation based upon what is true and authentic to you.

Does everyone require a strategy to brand themselves? No.

There are different types of people in this world. For example, if you put a full pint of Starbuck’s Mocha Java Chip Ice Cream in my freezer, it will be consumed in no less than an hour. By me. Alone.
On the other hand, my husband can have a scoop of ice cream and put it back in the freezer without a second thought.

No matter how often I beg my husband not to bring home ice cream he still does. He tells me I should have more self-control. Maybe I should. But I don’t. That’s not going to change unless I have a desire and a plan in place to change that behavior. If I told my husband that I needed a coach or some sort of help to strategically change that behavior, he would probably roll his eyes at me – simply because he doesn’t get it. And like me explaining my ice cream addiction to my husband, you can explain yourself away to a personal branding opponent until your blue in the face; they still won’t get it.

The Social Media Popularity Contest

When social media took off, we all gained a voice. But only a few have become celebrities in their industries – the ones who:

  • relate to their niche audience
  • create valuable content
  • advantageously used online marketing to get the word out

Whether they were being intentional or not, they’ve created a personal brand. In fact, many online celebrity business people have some sort of marketing background – whether in marketing, public relations, copywriting, or sales,

You do not have to be an expert, guru, or ninja to be a brand. However, beware: creating important content that helps your audience will help establish your authority.

The Two Sides of Personal Branding B.S.

Is personal branding really a bunch of b.s.? It all boils down to your viewpoint:

If you have an innate understanding of marketing and positioning, and are able to magnetize your audience to you without any sort of plan – well, personal branding probably comes across as a bunch of crap to you.

If you want a branding strategy (aka: B.S.) that helps you identify your unique strengths, passions, and personality and with a focused plan to market that message to your target audience –personal branding is right for you.

Keep the conversation flowing… What’s your take? Is personal branding a bunch of crap or is it a business strategy?

  • Jason Brown

    I follow you, and you have an surprisingly identifiable strategy. The problem I and many others have is that you understand it and can live it.  It’s in your blood. I on the other hand am not nearly as cool and hip. I am also not one who can produce great content or wow people with my rapier whit and charm. Seems like a full time job. Am I wrong? P.S. Keep up the good work.

    • Kimberly Bordonaro

      Thank you, Jason! I appreciate your support and feedback.

      To answer your questions:

      1. Producing great content. I had a day one where I felt overwhelmed at the thought of blogging, creating e-books and reports, posting guest articles, etc. I had a learning curve and studied copy-writing along the way. However, even I don’t produce all of my content because I only have so many hours in a day. I work with copywriters on some of my content. I budget this as a marketing expense for my business.

      2. Natural rapier, whit, and charm. Yes, some of it comes naturally and some is a learned skill. However, if there is a golden rule of personal branding, it’s this: personal branding is not about creating a false or fake image. Not everyone is charismatic. Be true to yourself and your personality and add in a dose of common sense when it comes to building relationships. If you are being authentic, you would never feel that you have to be “on” all the time. 

      I guess the best example for my explanations is the star athlete. Is it natural talent that is at the heart of their success – or did they start out at the same place we all are and then learned proper form/process, committed time to working hard, and hired people along the way (coach, agent, manager, etc) to help them achieve their goals for stardom? It is probably a mixture of the two.  

  • Curmudgeon

    Is this where a vendor steps in and tells us how they can maintain our brand for a monthly fee? Or, teach us how for a fee discounted only if we immediately respond to their offer?

    • Kimberly Bordonaro

      Your screen name and comment are very “on brand”. 😉

      As I mentioned in my post, there are “snake oil” salespeople in every industry. I think hiring someone to help with a personal branding campaign is a personal choice and that there are plenty of free resources across the Internet. There also are plenty of reputable companies and consultants that are truly there to help.