Personal Branding

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An interesting thing happened a few months back. Geoff Livingston, the organizer of BlogPotomac, asked me to be on a panel about personal branding at the BlogPotomac event. The irony of the whole thing is that I have a personal brand of sorts, but also resent the idea as a whole. I accepted the invite wondering how the heck I’d shape the conversation to be productive.

The problem is that personal branding tends to be self serving. The people who you can identify as “personal brands” also tend to be the same people that require the love and attention of others. Even if they don’t recognize that fact, the heart and soul of the problem is a need to be needed. In psychology, that’s an illness called codependency. In social media, we call it personal branding.

See the problem?

Single women generally will tell you that the guys they are attracted to are the ones who are confident. They don’t like cockiness. It’s a turn off. Confidence, however, is a turn on.

When an individual has a codependency syndrome, they tend to be cocky. It’s an unhealthy adoration of themselves and what they do. However, people like Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions carry themselve in a much more confident way. Something that immensely benefits his employer.

Don’t be cocky. Be confident. Understand your strengths, weaknesses and roles but avoid the pedestal that is sexy for just about every human to want to be on.

Food for thought

Comments

  1. says

    Excellent points, and I think you would be a great choice to help brand an image. You are confident, authoritative and intelligent which helps to make you a leader. When you have those qualities, people will follow and trust you, and in turn the business will benefit from having you associated with them.

  2. says

    Great post (and great panel discussion, by the way). My thought on the subject is that those chasing the “personal brand” have forgotten the concept of the “reputation.” To me the difference is that the brand is something that precedes the individual, while the reputation, to a greater extent, a product of his/her actions.

    If people allow the brand to evolve from their own reputation instead of focusing on shaping the brand for themselves, then it will be authentic and meaningful.

  3. says

    I understand and agree with the notion that just because you have built a brand does not mean people should buy what you are selling, it should depend on your actions what you have proven, and I enjoyed the panel discussion.

    However, although this is may be a small part of your post, I have to disagree with the co-dependency part. Although one facet of co-dependency is low self esteem and seeking approval, that in itself does not round up the definition. Most co-dependent people that I know actually disregard oneself and try to please others and they are not cocky at all. With that said I do see where low self esteem can manifest itself in other ways, like I think the cocky people are the ones that have a facade up and are afraid to look vulnerable so therefore they put on this over confident front. I am neither cocky or co-dependent, but I do feel the need the to feel needed, I really think in one shape or form we all do, whether we admit it or not is another matter.

  4. says

    Definitely enjoyed the discussion — and your point about confidence and cockiness is well taken. I find it particularly interesting, though, that someone who is self-employed (and therefore has to take a far greater interest in marketing, personal branding, etc.) is reluctant to drink the personal branding Kool-Aid.

    That’s not a bad thing: I think that many consultants, freelancers and other self-employed types have jumped on the personal brand bandwagon without building an underlying reputation. With the growing numbers of individuals trying to move into working for themselves, it’s important to get across the idea that what they actually do is far more important than if they have a LinkedIn page.

  5. says

    For me, personal branding is the way to go. you must know how to sell yourself out there and be different from your competitors. that is the only way to get noticed

  6. says

    I still stand by its the type of woman who like a cocky guy and its not always co-dependent. We like confidence, but we also like someone who has an air about them to put us in our place. Its like a successful woman secret I know telling you this, but I would be remiss if I did not mention it.

    Its a fine line.

    As for personal brand its a necessary [evil] by-product of success. I can tell you, my personal brand has given positive gains for my company. I even thought the challenge of relying on your brand to bring in business in order to get paid was intriguing. Its a risk as in any venture.

    To me its like a band member who goes solo. You liked GNR and Stone Temple Pilots, but you never heard of this band called Velvet Revolver. You see the line up and you see familiar names of great musicians in the former band. They have created their own brand, so you take a chance on seeing this new band based on what you know of the individuals past work somewhere else. You may get some recycled stuff in the end, but you will get some original creative work as well.

  7. says

    With all respect to Andrea, I respectfully disagree with her representing all women in her statement suggesting that women secretly want to be put in their place.

    Of the cocky guys that I know, the women they attract are the Barbies, groupies and former cheerleaders who want to be arm candy. The confident guys attract the wholesome, well rounded, personally successful women who have the skills and talents to compliment the men’s strengths and ambitions.

    How to get that confidence is the critical key – especially if the man did not have the benefit of a stable and nurturing household as a child, with lots of positive male influence in their formative years.

    If this goes a little off topic, I apologize. It just hit a nerve and I had to chime in.

  8. says

    Alexa, I wasn’t speaking on behalf of all women. I apologize if I come off that way. I know I have read studies in the past of what type of men that successful women like. It’s a bit too in the weeds for where I would like the conversation to go in this thread, but in a nutshell its the more successful a woman is, the more she likes to feel controlled in the bedroom. This is a cross of both cockiness and confidence in a man. Not all women fit this, as if you read above, I said “type” of woman. Sorry I struck a nerve.

  9. says

    Maybe it’s just me, but on my browser and computer monitor the way the text displays on this site, the word “cocky” looks like “cooky”… and yes, “cooky” guys would be a turn off! :)
    There is a huge difference between being “cocky” and being “confident”… smart people know that!