Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 24, 2010 7:48 PM

Personal Branding R.I.P.

The concept of Personal Branding has lost it's way. It's becoming less and less personal.

Personal Branding seemed to be something unique and powerful because of the advent of the Internet and the Social Media channels. Suddenly, any one individual could express themselves (in text, images, audio and video) instantly (and free) to the world. The smartest people could now be heard. The shy people could now connect to others who were like them. Those interested in Digital Marketing suddenly had all of this great content being published by their peers that they could add to, connect to and build a community around. We didn't need the permission or acceptance of the mass media channels to get coverage or ink. Suddenly, we could build our own media channels and get the word out about who we are and what we have to say.

Those that were doing it well, were doing it authentically and with true passion.

While there's nothing wrong with having a media channel that allows anyone and everyone to have a publishing platform, the concept of Personal Branding has evolved along with it. Instead of people really digging deep, opening up and living passionately, we're moving ever-closer to the point where most individuals are expressing their Personal Brands in ways that make them look more like sterile and plastic TV news anchors than original thinkers. It's not everyone (there are still many who are using these channels to really highlight and explore their unique personalities), but there is an ever-growing group of those who come off as fake, insincere, and simply out for their own personal gain. In short, they seem and feel like plastic and taste like vanilla.

The good news is that you can ignore them or not follow them.

The bad news is that if everyone treats Social Media like it's mass media, and attempts to be everything to everybody, it's going to come off as fake and inauthentic. Does this mean that we have to forgo social norms to be authentic? Nope (unless that's your thing). Does this mean that we have to be provocative, irreverent and nasty? Nope (unless that's your thing). What is missing (and what is direly needed) is for all us to take a step back and remember the real power here: to express ourselves in an authentic and passionate way (not in a drone-like corporate way).

Loosen it up.

To truly bring personal branding back from the brink of a world where everyone is not being themselves, but rather trying to create a fake persona of the person who they think others want them to be must stop. We have to encourage everybody to be themselves. In the great words of Oscar Wilde, "be you because others are already taken."

Has the concept of Personal Branding lost its way? Has Personal Branding become to close to bad corporate branding? What do you think? 

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Jay Watts III
    Mitch Joel

    I don't know what's more obnoxious - that people use phrases like personal branding, or that there's a lot of anxiety about the fact that personal branding is in some sort of crisis. Is it that too many people on a Twitter feed talk about Chat Roulette and Die Antwood? Too many stale memes? I imagine if you actually have a strong "Personal Brand" you're not too worried about whatever it is a personal brand is, and probably not about to embark on a crusade to "encourage everybody to be themselves." Or maybe they are, what do I know - my personal brand is in crisis.

  • Posted by Simren Deogun
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I've never thought of personal branding as having lost its way. What has been my perception is the lack of understanding around what a personal brand is, what it means and how one can leverage that for professional success.

    I think the concept of personal branding (especially online) is in its infancy as those who wish to be sincere and passionate navigate the digital and social media waters. But there will always (and inevitably) be that segment that wish to mar the power and prowess of personal branding with the aim of unsportsmanlike personal gain.

    I choose to either ignore them or steer them in the right direction, where authenticity, drive and openness are sure to bear sweeter fruits.

  • Posted by Danielle
    Mitch Joel

    I like your insights and I would go one further and say in some cases it's about branding to get rich quick. There's no authenticity when it's about making a quick buck.

  • Posted by Martin Lessard
    Mitch Joel

    Tara Hunt has a good word to replace "personal branding": Personality. You can not fool with such word. No one want to have a personality that feel like plastic and taste like vanilla. "Personal brand" does however cause such twists...

  • Posted by Alan Takushi
    Mitch Joel

    I'm building my "personal brand" by making sincere connections and being as transparent as possible. As long as I represent my true self and am authentic, my hard work will will be rewarded. The posers and other get-rich-schemers will no doubt be exposed for who they are in due time.

  • Agree. The former anonymity of the Internet is shedding layers and is beginning to resemble real life, where we wear social masks to hide our personality warts (and in some cases, our real warts ... know any Facebookers who use their baby pictures or high school grad photos as their profile pics?)

    We want to put a good face on ourselves. People are too afraid to look foolish, to appear selfish, or especially to posit an opinion that later turns out to be wrong.

    i blame American politics for this, in part. America has bred a culture where public figures (which we're all becoming) are not allowed to be wrong, or to change their minds, because the words they speak today can always be compared against the things they said yesterday. The Yanks call it "flip-flopping", and it is a dire accusation indeed. You don't want to be a flip-flopper, to the point that you have to entrench yourself in your opinion and stick to your guns from cradle to grave.

    Robert McNamara was not labelled a flip-flopper when he apologized for the Vietnam war, but that's probably only because he wasn't running for office. If we eased up on the finger-pointing and this constant comparing of people to their record with no allowance for change or personal growth, then we may actually experience ... change and personal growth!

    Be ugly. Be wrong. Make mistakes. Show your warts. Generate healthy and helpful debate. And be brave enough to admit your mistakes when a younger version of yourself shows your warts from days past.

    - Ryan

  • Posted by Mark Dykeman
    Mitch Joel

    I think that the best and the worst of offline reputation management and self-promotion has migrated to social media. Probably inevitable.

    I think you touch on one important thing in your post, Mitch: the commonly excepted standards of excellence that you are supposed to promote via personal branding makes for a lot of shiny happy robots. Sorry, I meant clones. People, I meant people.

  • Posted by Paul L'Acosta
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I don't think it has lost its way. However, for some reason, the minority has become obsessed with rules and regulations to control clutter so much that originality is reduced to almost nothing.

    We've created countless e-books and manuals on "How to use Twitter" and "How to harness the power of Twitter", etc. and guess what -- no wonder why new user statistics show that people sign up, try to spit out some tweets, and never return! Why? Because they're instructed not to be original. How many times do you polish your tweets before you actually hit "Send"? In other words, you're trying to clean it up and conform to the rules.

    Twitter asks "What's happening" and if John Doe wants to say "I'm eating ice cream. Man, this thing is cold!", JUST LET HIM DO IT! Only you're to blame if you complain that John's tweet is a big no-no: who told you to click "Follow John Doe" anyway?

    I've yet to find a so-called "Twitter guide" that celebrates originality.

    Let people be honest. Let them be truthful. Let the medium be social.

    Great post!

  • Posted by Jeremy Meyers
    Mitch Joel

    MJ, as you know, one of the things that made me want to get involved in the whole SM/Twitter world was watching your talk about Personal Branding from Podcamp Boston. At the time, it was a smart, well-reasoned and simple message: Get out there and speak your mind.

    Since then it's been perverted into something "Strategic," "Tactical" and someting that fits within the realm of Bullshit Marketing.When normal people go to a party, they're Having Conversations. Only inauthentic Marketing Types go into a situation with the purpose of Building Their Personal Brand.

    Just be a person. You are not a brand. You are a person. Make friends. Speak your mind. Piss people off. Tell them you love them. Share what you care about.

    Good riddance to the whole thing. Strategizing communications is inherently inauthentic. Don't do it.

    • Posted by Shawn McCormick
      Mitch Joel

      Jeremy - I couldn't agree more with your summary:

      "Just be a person. You are not a brand. You are a person. Make friends. Speak your mind. Piss people off. Tell them you love them. Share what you care about."

      Robots would never do all of the above - it is what differentiates the authentic ones from the robots...

  • Great points (and thanks for your excellent presentation at Third Tuesday Toronto last night).

    We're in a world of sameness. It doesn't matter if you're looking at corporate brands, mission statements, products, movies, advertising or personal resumes. Bland rules. That's good news. By being slightly different, we can easily stand out.

    What if someone who stands out doesn't deserve the recognition? A web search might identify a faker instantly. If not, time points them out and they fade away.

  • Posted by Adam Singer
    Mitch Joel

    Good thoughts - but you should name and shame next time Mitch :)

  • Posted by Ramsey Mohsen
    Mitch Joel

    I was nodding my head the entire time reading this blog post. You're right. Just like websites and blogs, when you're posting content about yourself- what makes you unique and different than the millions of other people out there. The tough part people have with using social media is trying to be everything they see and know, which you mention in your post ...mass media.

    "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
    - Joseph Cambell

    So, blaze your trail, carve your own path and be yourself- because it doesn't just count for something ...it counts for everything in this already saturated world of mass media publishers.

  • Posted by Ryan Rancatore
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I can't help but agree with the points made in your article. But, I don't think the sum of your points equate to the death of personal branding. Really, all this is no different than the offline world, right? Some people think a fancy suit, gold watch and slick resume will get them where they need to be. They fail. Online posers mistaking their buttoned-up actions for a personal brand will fail eventually too.

    In my opinion some of the strongest personal brands out there today have been created unintentionally and organically by people who've never heard or cared about the term. For them, not a thing has changed. For other folks monitoring the process, yet approaching it honestly, nothing will change either.

  • Posted by Paul Madden
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch
    Enjoyable and thoughtful read.
    I don't think Personal Branding is dead. Misused? yes, but that's true offline as well as on. Social media and the ease of online has surfaced more of those that are misguided or disingenuious. However, the best people will always shine through.
    Paul

  • Posted by Steve Woodruff
    Mitch Joel

    No matter what the medium, or what label we use, there will always be a tension between authentic humanity (including sincerely offering what on has of value to others) and fakery. Impression management will always fail given enough time. "Personal branding" (or any kind of branding) is fine as long as it is aligned with reality. Over the long haul, the truth will out.

    • Posted by David Fieldman
      Mitch Joel

      I think personal branding has taken on a brand of its own. And people get lost with the concept or notion of having to create something of a brand that sets them apart from their competitors, along with meaningless slogans, websites, fancy webpages, interactive videos and copious white papers - all designed as hype to attract clients.

      However, in China, despite mounting competition, I have found that sincerity, giving the client what has been promised, never deviating from the aims of what the client has requested is more than enough to establish my personal brand.

      Perhaps there are too many self-style "gurus" propounding the "new brand."

      Have we lost sight of who we really are and what we can offer?

  • Posted by Ray Almonte
    Mitch Joel

    Great post & a lot of good comments. I think that Personal Branding is just that. If someone wishes to brand themselves as a purveyor or commercial self interest or insincerity instead of as someone who's fun loving, or helpful, or a PETA enthusiast, or a rock climbing aficionado, so be it. That's their own self imposed brand. I also believe that people are branded by who they follow, although that's a bit subtler. As is who we allow to follow us, what groups we belong to, etc... Just as in real life, our reputation or Personal Brand depends on our own actions & choices. After a while any distinctions between who we really are & the self chosen personal brand become moot.

  • Posted by Rinaldi Syahran
    Mitch Joel

    Good advice. Your suggestions other than informative, useful also very helpful in business blogging.I think the brand should be unique and can always be remembered by those who see or hear. Not necessarily weird but interesting.

  • Posted by Steve Garfield
    Mitch Joel

    Companies that are looking to create web video need to look back at the early days of videoblogging where poeple got to really know each other by watching their videos. Over time, video blogging content has become like little Hollywood TV production companies. There's nothing wrong with that, but we've lost some of the authenticity.

    Companies can benefit from putting casual video on the web, as long as they let the viewers know what to expect. I'm seeing new interest in this type of video.

  • Posted by Danny Brown
    Mitch Joel

    Hasn't "personal branding" been around forever though, Mitch, long before social media was even called that? Your "brand" is the perception of you by others (much like a product brand). You can try and influence it by encouraging areas where you feel yourself to be more influential or knowledgeable; yet at the end of the day, it's what you do and how you do it that makes your brand.

    This has always been the case, and all social has done is make it a little more visible to more folks.

  • Posted by Tim Gier
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch:

    Thoughtful post, but difficult to read for a few reasons.

    For example, blog posts should cap out at 300 words - your is too long. Blog posts are supposed to utilize bullet points - yours has none. Blog posts are supposed to have Video (don't you know about Video?) - this post doesn't even have a photo! Blog posts are supposed to positive and upbeat with a feel good ending - yours does not.

    Mitch, I'm afraid that you aren't conforming to what the self-appointed Social Media Gurus dictate about proper blogging, until you do, I don't know if you're going to make it big in the blogosphere.

    I'll take content over form, and authenticity over merchandising & marketing, any day. Some can master both (as I believe you have, despite the "gurus"). But in my own case at least, I already know how to be me - so that's what I'm putting out there, come what may. I'd rather find 10 real people to connect with than have 100,000 "followers" who have no idea who I really am.

    If Personal Branding is dead, I say good riddance.

  • Posted by John McLachlan
    Mitch Joel

    I don't think anything has changed in this realm. The same old, same old has just moved to online. Some people have personal brands that are very unique because they are and some, not so much.

    For me, all this talk about it is tiring and pointless.

  • Posted by david usher
    Mitch Joel

    hey mitch
    "personal branding" or "personality", authenticity is key but after many years of being out there, i wonder if the explosion of "personality" and the endless realtime streams are is starting to wear us all a little thin. its like we were talking about the other night at the MBA meetup. when you only buy 5 albums a year they are really special but when you have 4000 on a big harddrive the sheer mass of it all dilutes the value. maybe its the same with personal brand, blogs and realtime. the vastness dilutes the value...just a thought:) and btw im in TO today, are you here?

  • Posted by Kim McWat - JAN Kelley Marketing
    Mitch Joel

    Just finished reading "Six Pixels of Separation" - enjoyed it thoroughly by the way. So your post on personal branding stood out for me. I feel too many people get too caught up on what is "right" rather than simply being themselves. If, in person, the individual is dynamic and stands out in the crowd, that same persona should be loud and clear online.

    Personal branding isn't dead...it's just gotten lost in the crowd.

  • Posted by Scott Scanlon
    Mitch Joel

    I"m glad there are other people out there that feel the same way about this. It has started to annoy me for a while. So much so that I created a special report on why personal branding is a joke... http://www.youbrandinc.com/personal-branding-is-a-joke/

    I agree people need to focus on being them, focus on being good at what they do. Your "Personal Brand" which is a lame term by the way, will take care of itself.

  • Posted by Will Burns
    Mitch Joel

    Why did we have to go and label it "Personal Brand" in the first place? The word "brand" should be no way near the word "Person" (or any derivation therein) ever. It cheapens our humanity.

    There are just people. People who say interesting things and people who don't. People who "try" and people who just "are." And I agree that the people who are trying, aren't. :-)

  • Posted by Jay Gilmore
    Mitch Joel

    Every time I hear or see the term "personal branding" I cringe. Not because it has lost its meaning but because it is a silly label for being consistently "you."

    Public image is how we show ourselves to others in context not all the time. People are not one thing, they are not defined only by one context. In social media spaces people may present their public image in a particular light and if you call that personal branding so be it but context, actions and perception all affect public image.

    I have 2 personal rules for social media and other online spaces: "Don't be a jerk" and "Don't do anything I'd be ashamed for my grandparents to see." This behaviour may or may not be how I am at home or how I am out with friends or family.

    This notion of personal branding has made some people craft facades out of the air and created personalities that don't exist anywhere in the real world—self-caricatures.

    Lets be real in the way that we have done forever based on the context.

  • Posted by Yoana Pedroso
    Yoana Pedroso

    What are some examples of good/great personal branding?

  • Posted by Keith Jennings
    Mitch Joel

    What a terrifically relevant and thoughtful post.

    Oscar Wilde also wrote, "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." I remember hearing that quote from Bono explaining what U2 was doing with the Zoo TV tour.

    Ironically it seems folks are perverting what these two quotes are really saying: be your true self. I guess being oneself is too much work and too emotionally risky for many.

    Thank you for being an example, Mitch.

  • Posted by Andy Jones
    Mitch Joel

    Some people don't know or don't like who they are. They make a brand or online personality that they think will work. Problem is that they still have to eventually meet in the protein form and deal in the real world.

    You can't fake it. Understand who you are and stay true to that. Works much better in the long run.

  • Posted by Kevin Dees
    Mitch Joel

    I think you first need to identify what "personal brand" is. Instead of covering the whole scope, I'll say what it is to me.

    "Personal brand" is a name, my name, and when someone hears it they identity who that name belongs too.

    How I shape it; that is up to me, it's my name. If I want to be noticed that's ok, if not that's great too.

    They only problem I see is when people think they can market their name, like a company markets their brand. It just doesn't work that way!

    The people who follow me, my friends, family, and like minded don't see me as a "name" or "brand", basically something you buy from the store. They see me as an experience or a memory or someone they can relate too, aka relationship.

    While there are coloration's between the two, brand and "me", that doesn't make them the same. They are different.

    It's like saying "I" am a business or product, "personal brand". Its just not intimate, it has no loyalty, and its put in the trash when your done with it. There is little investment in it, money or time.

    So, I don't think its really about "brand" its more about "fans". Its about who I am! Not what I am, or how well I can market myself.

    I guess it all come down to reputation. I have it and a "brand" has it... but we are not the same. One is sold and the other is won.

  • Posted by Josyan
    Mitch Joel

    Like with everything else people (not all) seem to be willing to compromise themselves (their values) to gain the immediate rush of eyeballs. That's too bad. They are selling themselves short and in my opinion, have more self exploration to do. Finding your voice is a difficult thing to do and it takes time. I suppose people don't want to put the energy it takes to the work. Everyone has something unique to say but it takes a big shovel to dig it out of yourself.

  • Posted by Glain
    Mitch Joel

    Great post and definitely interesting comments. Here's what I see from the leadership space... In my experience, many top execs have been trailblazers for what happens when authenticity disconnects from personal brand... that's not new at all. Branding to make a buck like Danielle commented about is something that's been going on at the C-Suite level for years. Next time I hear someone say "I'm going to brand myself as an executive" I may actually lose it. Twitter et al has just brought this process out of the closet and given people an insight into why some "less than competent" people get promoted... they're often really great at personal branding. Smoke and mirrors baby. And we wonder why there's a leadership crisis....?!

  • Personal branding lost its way the moment we started calling it by that name.

    A brand is by definition IMPERSONAL; it speaks for you when your company or product isn't around. It is a "conversation container" where what you say about yourself meets - or clashes with - what customers expect.

    That's not to say that individuals can't build, maintain, and cultivate brands using themselves as the "product" - I teach people how to do that all the time and so do you Mitch (and very powerfully). It's just that we already have a word for that: it's called a brand.

    But when you call it "personal brand" suddenly the discussion moves out of the realm of solid communication principles into the murky waters of self-improvement, self-help, self-hypnosis. Good brands don't focus on themselves. They focus on other people: their customers.

    So yeah, is it time to stop talking about "personal branding"?

    I already did.

    Nothing personal.

  • Posted by Mary H Ruth
    Mitch Joel

    While the post and many comments here are astute and interesting, don't we have to consider why personal branding is even on the radar? Yes, because the web opened up to us the possibility of self-publishing. But more, because both the internet and the global economy are changing our patterns phenomenally; we are moving towards a world in which every individual is in business for him/herself.

    It's not personal branding, but the hierarchical employer/employee relationship that is eroding. We are facing a future in which it is imperative to know your personal gifts and capitalize upon them if you are to succeed even minimally.

    Branding is reputation. I agree, for fear of tarnishing our reputations, we often present vanilla personalities online. It's frustrating and boring.

    Two gigantic education challenges: how to identify your brand and how to present it powerfully. We are nowhere near meeting these challenges satisfactorily, as of yet.

  • Posted by Michael Cayley
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    Thanks again for your Third Tuesday Toronto talk on Personal Brand earlier this week. It was a great compliment to our Personal Brand Camp held earlier that day.

    I felt that your Personal Brand R.I.P. slide from that presentation was a great opening gambit to provoke a further understanding of what it means to have and manage an online identity.

    Here is my comment from over on the #ttt meet up group:

    Mitch - how would you follow up on your opening gambit: Personal Brand R.I.P.?

    Personal Brand seems like a misnomer.

    For most, the primary motive for expanding and managing their online presence is professional.

    Even the concept of "Brand", whether on a side of beef or in a 30 second spot, has its roots in broadcast/one way media.

    Everyone, even consumer brands have discovered that managing perception online requires different thinking, skills and tactics then traditional brand management.

    I hope that the idea of "memetic brand" is a valuable add, that helps us consider these differences.

    Another source of discomfort - our lives, our personal identities, our social connections are being flooded/mediated by broadband connectivity and we have no more choice in this then we do about adapting to the electric light bulb. It is changing everything.

    Perhaps "Personal Brand" is a necessary stepping stone?

    We need events like last Tuesday to cope with these changes ... and gambits like "Personal Branding R.I.P." ... well done.

    Here is a post that we have used for Personal Brand Camp to crack open a more thorough consideration of online identity, why it is critical and how to manage it. All of these discussion threads are open until March 1st.

    http://humberpr.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-pbcamp2-conversation

    Thanks again,
    Michael

  • Posted by Liz
    Mitch Joel

    I hate, hate, HATE the whole concept of personal brand from its very origins. For one thing, it's too individualistic (me-me-me), not communal and secondly, because it treats people as if they are products, as things, not as multi-dimensional human beings.

    When I think of the individuals held up as examples of personal branding, they all have one-dimensional images with no complexity or depth. They are "X" (funny, entrepreneurs, contrarians, social butterflies, "thought leaders" gag). They are caricatures. And a caricature doesn't change and evolve over time. It is static, not dynamic.

    An example? Lady Gaga has a very distinct image and the expectations people have for her "brand" wouldn't be met if she wanted to be a singer in a band or make an acoustic album. Her personal brand is sexy, daring, avant garde arty dance music and her fans would be horrified to see her in jeans & flannel shirts strumming a guitar & singing about social change. She's a cartoon. A very successful cartoon but her brand is very much restricted & limited. And flavors of the month tend to burn brightly and then fade just as quickly.

    In this day & age, to be successful either someone is going to have to be very lucky (like Gaga) or they have to be able to grow, evolve, learn, change, collaborate, give and that is antithetical to the concept of people as brands. The person you are at 25 is going to be different than person you are at 40 or 60. People change but it is much harder to change a brand image.

    Look at Pee-Wee Herman....going back to the same schtick he did 20 years ago because people can't see him as anything else. Are today's personal brand success stories going to be tomorrow's Pee-Wee Hermans?

  • Posted by theWeir
    Mitch Joel

    so I posted my original comment about 10 hours ago... on the wrong post. way for my Personal Brand!

    So I meant to say:

    Hmm, an interesting question - and one that the mention of Facebook might be distorting.

    There's plenty of people who don't give a monkeys about Personal Branding and are just living their lives with the web integrated into that. And perhaps creating a more natural sense of who they are - of their Brand.

    Then there's others who are more switched on to the game (as Chris/Julien articulate it) and are trying to play the system. And I think people doing this badly are those your are calling out - or are you being disheartened by what you see?

    Trust Agents treads that fine balance of understanding how the web is rewiring our interactions and doing to authentically.

    I do believe that as the web becomes more integrated into the way that people live their lives (and I mean everyone, not simply the early-adopters) that transparency will follow.

    Utopian? Maybe. But whatever happens, the masks we wear might well be more authentic to our real faces as we evolve with the network.

    What do you think, Mitch?

  • Posted by Shawn McCormick
    Mitch Joel

    Is it just me, but don't you find the fakes kind of stick out? I mean, they just don't *feel* right...it's that visceral thing. Sometimes (only) your gut knows!

  • Posted by Amber Weinberg
    Mitch Joel

    While I'll agree there are TOO many plastic people in social media these days (self-expressed social media marketing and SEO "experts"? *cough cough*) I find that people are way more personable these days. When I first came to the internet, over 10 years ago, things were quiet. You could lie about who you are and no one would ever know. Nowadays, if I were to suddenly start tweeting as a fake person or with a fake attitude, so many people could recognize this and call it out. People don't like fake and they can sense it without even knowing the person. So I think personal branding is more important than ever, as more people are looking for someone real.

  • For a minute there, I was worried by the title of this post. I've been reading your book and know that you extol personal branding. After reading the post, I have to agree with you, having seen where you're coming from.

    I am personally bothered by individuals who are bent on destroying others online while cowardly hiding behind a pseudonym. The lack of authenticity really bothers me. I realize that I can only go so far in reaching out, but in the end ignoring and making what I do the best it can be is what's best for me.

    • I hit send and then realized I wasn't done... another point in regard to online personal branding. Social media amplifies who you are in real life. If you're a douchebag in real life, you're an even bigger douchebag online. And we all know it. This post puts out a good call for an end to social media douchebaggery.

  • Posted by Josh Fendley
    Mitch Joel

    Here's a great example: http://kevindugan.com/

    We've built a platform for folks to build their brand with.

  • Posted by J. Clifford
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch I am listening to your book for the second time. believe or not I also ordered the paper version so I can refer back to it. At any rate I have takes some of your advice and this is my first attempt to get involved. Your blog today on personal brand was interesting but I think a little overstated. As more business are looking to manipulate the social media and business are selling ways to manipulate this is the natural outcome. Consumer are used to attempts at manipulation and as you pointed out they can just tune out. I think it's way to early to start having a wake for personal branding. I know from your book your passion for the proper use of social media and approaches to personal branding and I think it's too strong a community to be done in by a few insincere and phony want-a-be's

  • The comments and conversation here have been staggering. Please keep them coming. My friend (and fellow Media Hacks co-host), Christopher S. Penn, also added some additional insights that are well-worth checking out right over here:
    http://bit.ly/cxOJWc

  • Posted by Scott Scanlon
    Mitch Joel

    I agree 100%. I've been bothered by this more and more. As I read or hear people say "I'm working on my personal brand", I just wish people focused on excelling at what they do instead of working on building this magical personal brand.

    Being authentic and having substance is the first step in creating a personal br@nd. I still think though we are talking about personal imaging over personal branding.

    I have thought about this alot as well:
    http://www.youbrandinc.com/personal-branding-is-a-joke/

  • Posted by Tommyismyname
    Mitch Joel

    Interesting. That's the second Oscar Wilde quote I've read this week.

    To be honest Mitch, that is why I enjoy reading your blog along with some of the others that I read. It's authentic, your voice is uniquely you.

    "social media" marketing blogs take this cookie cutter, patronizing, wrenched voice that is meant for just about anyone to be able to read. And while that's alright to do, it's obviously not working as well as it could. If so, more businesses would be on board, and the "social media" position would be as commonplace as HR and customer service. My problem is that they're written almost cryptically and IF you read between the lines, You MIGHT get what I'm saying...

    What is wrong with saying "This is how it works, I'll show you the platform, but know that if we were to go head to head, I'd probably outperform you, because I know what I'm doing" Or whatever your approach may be.

    I think too many people decided to jump on the bandwagon not knowing enough about what they were doing, only to discover that they all started sounding exactly alike when they recycled each other's information.

  • Posted by Jimi Mac
    Mitch Joel

    Personal Branding has been around since the dawn of man/woman...just because it has a tag line, the tools have changed and are widely available doesn't change what it has always been ...or it doesn't mean it has lost any way...it is just what it has always been......

  • Posted by Karen P. Katz
    Mitch Joel

    I love this debate and totally agree with those who are trying to eradicate "generic brands" from the life-long discovery and representation of who we are.

    My take on this is that you and your community of readers have an issue with the way in which "personal marketing" is conducted. I think your complaint is not with the fully vetted and long-practiced concept of personal branding (except for the pretentious and plastic name, "branding").

    This debate sent me back to "the source:" Tom Peters' article in Fast Company (1997), The Brand Called YOU. In the article you can clearly see a distinction between the process of identifying a person's features/benefits and the online or traditional marketing campaign that follows. What is now called, "branding," is a long-honored process of self-assessment, followed by a SWOT analysis to find a niche in the marketplace.

    Don't throw the "branding" (by any name you wish) out with the sometimes tacky marketing strategies.

  • Posted by Sue Brettell
    Mitch Joel

    Loosening up, being authentic ...couldn't agree more. However I've read advice that one should make all online activity appropriate for your grandmother to read!

    An ill considered blog post or comment isn't like making a gaffe at a party. Digital dirt can be much harder to mop up than a spilled glass of red wine. We regularly hear of employers, recruiters and the media digging up unflattering material that damages a person's career. A British MP was sacked because of a thoughtless tweet – and oh look, it's still getting mentioned.

    Being our best selves doesn't make us less authentic: it's just good sense to take care with the quality of our online communication.

  • Posted by John McLachlan
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch. I'm late to this discussion, but please, don't diss Vanilla. It's an amazing flavour that doesn't get nearly the respect it deserves. :-)

  • Mitch Joel

    Style the hair as you chalk. The feel from twisting definitely
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    Usually clean the extra natural powder out right after chalking each piece.


    If you’re blonde or you have blonde tips, DO NOT wet your hair before chalking.
    I will stain if you do because adding water to pure pigment creates a real dye.
    If you’re okay with the staining for several washes then go for it!
    Do not add water at any time if you’re looking to do color for the day.


    If your hair color is anything darker than blonde and you don’t have blonde tips, you’ll NEED the water.
    Doubling the pigment is what may help the colors to be visible on darker head of hair.
    Mist a little bit h2o in the strand having a spray package,
    then chalk it up! It won’t blemish dark-colored locks much the same way it will on less heavy your hair.


    Red heads- try it without water and if it’s just not showing up, add a
    little water. It merely depends upon how light-weight or darker your red is.


    Just use “soft pastels”. These are generally our all time faves.
    Senellier company pastels have the brightest and most intense
    pay off we’ve ever we’ve and seen… experimented with a
    good deal. So is hair color- and hair color removal, even though
    they’re nearly $4 per piece at Blick, which seems a little expensive.
    Standard chalk does not job a similar. It’s more challenging to move and getting it to stick to your your
    hair may be almost impossible.

    Soft chalk pastels is available at any major craft store.
    Just never get “soft chalk” pastels baffled for essential oil pastels.
    If you’re confused, ask a sales person. Getting rid of
    gas pastels would be a headache, along with, they’d feel
    completely sticky.

  • Mitch Joel

    Style the hair as you chalk. The feel from twisting definitely
    makes the chalk discharge far more pigment.

    Usually clean the extra natural powder out right after chalking each piece.


    If you’re blonde or you have blonde tips, DO NOT wet your hair before chalking.
    I will stain if you do because adding water to pure pigment creates a real dye.
    If you’re okay with the staining for several washes then go for it!
    Do not add water at any time if you’re looking to do color for the day.


    If your hair color is anything darker than blonde and you don’t have blonde tips, you’ll NEED the water.
    Doubling the pigment is what may help the colors to be visible on darker head of hair.
    Mist a little bit h2o in the strand having a spray package,
    then chalk it up! It won’t blemish dark-colored locks much the same way it will on less heavy your hair.


    Red heads- try it without water and if it’s just not showing up, add a
    little water. It merely depends upon how light-weight or darker your red is.


    Just use “soft pastels”. These are generally our all time faves.
    Senellier company pastels have the brightest and most intense
    pay off we’ve ever we’ve and seen… experimented with a
    good deal. So is hair color- and hair color removal, even though
    they’re nearly $4 per piece at Blick, which seems a little expensive.
    Standard chalk does not job a similar. It’s more challenging to move and getting it to stick to your your
    hair may be almost impossible.

    Soft chalk pastels is available at any major craft store.
    Just never get “soft chalk” pastels baffled for essential oil pastels.
    If you’re confused, ask a sales person. Getting rid of
    gas pastels would be a headache, along with, they’d feel
    completely sticky.

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    Mitch Joel

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