Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
September 9, 2010 9:09 PM

The 10 Core Values Of A Winning Personal Brand

What attributes do you need to have a winning personal brand?

It's very flattering when people tell me that they admire the personal brand that I have developed over the years. The truth is that the term "personal brand" makes me cringe a little bit more with each and every passing day (more on that here: Personal Branding R.I.P.). Part of my gripe with the concept of personal branding is that as these many new media channels grow in popularity, and as more and more people use it to broadcast and publish who they are and why anybody should care about them, everything is becoming very safe and homogenous. A lot of the content is loosing its sparkle and comes off much more like a glorified press release than people trying to have real interactions between real human beings.

Oh, the irony.

As Digital Marketers we've been pushing brands to engage in these real interactions between real human beings, but as the landscape evolves, individuals are becoming more like generic brands with bland/similar messages. Ultimately, the spirit of personal branding - really allowing who you are to shine and connect - is devolving into a fake online persona used to close a sale or impress other individuals. During an online chat today on Sprouter, someone asked, "What can I do to build my personal brand?"

Here are the 10 core values you need to have a winning personal brand:

  1. Honesty. If you're not sharing who you really are and are simply trying to get others to pay attention to you, everything is lost.
  2. Open. You have to be open. Open to feedback, open to criticism, but most importantly, open with your content. You have to be willing to put things out there that aren't polished to perfection.
  3. Consistent. Nobody like erratic behavior. If you're going to Blog, Tweet or be on Facebook, do it consistently. This doesn't mean to publish for the sake of publishing and this doesn't mean to be annoying. It means to figure out a plan and stick to it.
  4. Emotional. Social Media is about being "social." The people who really make sincere connections are the ones who are able to be emotional. I often Blog about things that are uncomfortable. I put them out there knowing full well that I am (and can be) overly-emotional. I hope that the content connects to others on that emotional level.
  5. Candid. This doesn't mean that you have to be rude, aggressive or confrontational. It means that you have to be candid. While honesty is critical, you have to ensure that it's covered with that sincere expression.
  6. Share. People worry too much about the conversation in Social Media. Before you can have a conversation, please understand that what truly makes media social is the ability to share it. Share content. Not just on your Blog or Twitter feed, but everywhere. Add value to other communities by making everything you find more shareable (which - in turn - will make everything you do more findable).
  7. Engage. While everyone would like a community with a lot of conversation, once you start sharing things, you'll be more apt to engage with others. Engage with honor and good faith. If you're sharing and that sharing leads to engagement, you are teetering on the verge of really building a powerful community.
  8. Focus. Too many people spread themselves too thin. They're busy Tweeting when they should be Blogging or busy Blogging when they should be creating a video. Know the type of content you are best at producing (text, images, audio, video) and stay focused on practicing it and getting it to be great.
  9. Student. Too many people develop some semblance of an audience and then take on the role of teacher/preacher. I'm always a student. I believe I can learn from everybody. I think it can happen in simple places like Twitter, and in more complex places like conferences and business books. Many people graduate from university and put a moratorium on learning. Big mistake. Be the student. Always be the student.
  10. Care. Love him or hate him, but Gary Vaynerchuk cares (I happen to love his attitude). You can say what you will about him, but the one thing you can't deny is that he really, really cares (you get that same feeling from people like Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund, Joseph Jaffe and many others). I happen to think I care as much (maybe even more) than Gary does (and that's no slight). You have to care too. Not just about yourself, but about everybody you interact and engage with. "It's nothing personal, it's just business," is what some say. I'd say: "I spend almost 10 hours a day working and thinking about my business... I take that very personally."

What do you think? What values do you have/recommend?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Martin Ouellett
    Mitch Joel

    I would add "Accept to loose control". All you list can be decided and weighed. For me, a good brand, let it be personnal or not, needs to live beyound are project. It has to decide for itself if you want.

    Reply
  • I really love your posts, Mitch!

    I think people sometimes mix up "authentic" and "genuine" but in Social Media, they are 2 different things. I think a person can appear to be authentic, but being genuine is harder to fake. Both are hard to measure. You can blog till you're blue in the fingers about authentic "things" like caring about charities, caring about learning, and things like that, but only the truly genuine people show that it's more than just words they're typing into their little electric box.

    The people I admire most in this socially networked world are those who are genuine. You can tell that they really care. You can tell that they wish they could get to know their 500,000 "friends." And you feel like if you meet them in "real life," it would be like you had known them for years. The people I admire are teachers and perpetually make me feel dumb, not because they are mean but because they are thinking about how to solve problems I haven't even imagined yet.

    It's really easy to fall into the lecturer role on a Social Media site - especially a blog. I don't think I will ever feel like anything other than a newbie. I hope the day never comes when people would take my advice unthinkingly. I'd love my opinions to be heard, but talk about them? Heck yeah. All over it, now and forever.

    Thanks for this post - it's food for thought.

    Reply
    • It's interesting because I don't think trying to be friends (or even wanting to) with over 50,000 connections is realistic. I actually believe that being/thinking like that might hold me back when compared to others who act like that, but really don't "live it."

      I think if you're authentic and/or genuine with the content and the engagement... that's more than enough. When I see people trying to pretend that everyone is their "bud", I don't buy it.

      Reply
      • Posted by Ian M Rountree
        Mitch Joel

        I like Gina Trapani's term for this - "Ambient intimacy." No requisite connection beyond vague blissful awareness (as opposed to blissful ignorance) of the people in your orbit.

        We spend a lot of time trying to hack Dunbar - maybe we need to stop and smell the social sciences, and not let them get us down for once.

        Reply
  • Posted by Chris Baldwin
    Mitch Joel

    Great thoughts... only thought to add is a little humility. I believe the phrase "social media guru" has been used too much lately. We're all working on our personal brands but come on now, how can anyone be a guru of something that is evolving faster than any thing we've ever known? Darwin's head would be spinning if he tried to follow social media and how quickly it mutates, evolves and transforms. Remember, myspace was it only a few years ago.

    Attitude is fine. I get that, but for me, I want to "socialize' online with the same people I'd like to share a coffee with or a beer. If they don't pass that test, they're off my list. That said, I do look for many of the core values you write about because they speak to me too. Be real. Be honest. Be true.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Are you really dragging me back into the "Social Media Guru" rant? In fact, forget that and read what Shel Holtz had to say about it (brilliant stuff):

      It’s time for the anti-social media guru meme to die:
      http://bit.ly/bqUi2h


      Reply
      • Posted by Eric Pratum
        Mitch Joel

        The whole anti-social media guru thing is really just an excuse to have something to complain about if you ask me. You might say that years ago social media experts/specialists/whatever-they-were were able to do a similar thing, but with "traditional" marketers. "At least we're not stuck in the 'old' thinking. Marketing today is about social." "Traditional" was bad, so everything shifted. It was more advantageous to claim to be an expert in social media. Then, the tide turned. Now, even if you are a guru of some sort, you have to claim not to be.

        As far as I'm concerned, titles, whether self-defined or not, really mean very little. Reputation counts for so much more. If someone wants to call me a "marketer," cool. "Social media swami," cool. "Computer guy," a little off, but I'm still cool. I'm sure all of us have had to use poor descriptions for ourselves or our work now and then too when talking with people that have no basis for understanding our field.

        I'll say it again... Reputation counts for so much more than titles do.

        Reply
        • Call me whatever you like. I don't give myself any titles (that's a lie, I am President of Twist Image and I would call myself a writer, journalist, author, speaker and media hacker), but beyond that as long as people call (and hire Twist Image), I'm fine with whatever title others think defines who I am and what I do.

          Reply
    • Posted by Dragos M
      Mitch Joel

      I think that being a "student" and learn from others is the oposite of a guru, so you're covered.

      Reply
  • Posted by Rod Brooks
    Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch,

    I like your list a lot. I was on a panel that focused on Personal Brand recently. One value that came up from each panelist was "authentic". That could be a good addition to what you have.

    I like this...

    With regard to consistency and authenticity: Faking either is easy. Faking both is nearly impossible. Don't fake either.

    Rod

    Reply
    • I love the word "authentic" but I really grapple with it because I see too many individuals claiming to be "authentic" but then you catch/see all the snide and behind-the-back remarks. I'd love it if authenticity was possible, but too many people know that when they publish content others are watching and authenticity usually leads to "what will make me look best".

      Reply
      • Mitch Joel

        "Authentic" is a word that is becoming overused and completely misused. I have many "coaches" I follow/follow me who claim to be "authentic". But honestly, half of them aren't clear about what they coach on/about... I think many are in perpetual self-discovery... that is, they don't know themselves or aren't willing to stick a stake in the sand and claim something, anything that is truly and clearly authentic. Because that might stop the process of self-discovery. Chicken and egg? I don't know. But I feel it's the coaching industry that is leading the "authenticity" charge but are the least clear on being authentic. (I have many obviously authentic coach colleagues... disclaimer to those who know I love 'em!)

        Reply
        • I often ask people, "what do you mean by 'authentic'?" and when I hear back, "you know, to be real and honest..." I'm still like, "huh? wha?"

          I think people are who they are and while they're expressing themselves, others may perceive them as an original thinker with something original to say.

          Reply
          • Posted by Joe Sorge
            Mitch Joel

            Is it possible to define authenticity as being true to one's self?

            After I typed that, it sounds almost cryptic, but I think that's what it means for me: doing what you do when you do it without being overly concerned about being judged.

            A "take me as I am" approach, even "what you see is what you get". Whoa, this comment is headed in weird directions.

            Reply
            • I'd agree with that, but when people think "authentic" and publishing/Social Media, then tend to think about doing things that will have others perceiving them as being authentic vs. living in authenticity (it's a pretty big chasm for most).

              Reply
              • Mitch Joel

                "Honest and real"... you are right. That's vague too. I think authentic is being willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly... but not randomly. It is interesting, powerful, entertaining, educational when it is relevant and consistent to the purpose of the business or blog theme. I think "honest and real" makes the most sense in context of the emotion being the message. I also think many get caught up in fear over privacy concerns and unsure if/how to draw a line in being yourself versus sharing everything about yourself. Just like in real life conversation, we get to choose HOW MUCH we share... we can vary the depth of detail of the story, omitting what we aren't comfortable sharing, but still tell our truth with honesty and authenticity.

                Reply
  • Posted by Phil Gerbyshak
    Mitch Joel

    Great list. I'd add one key: passion. Passion for what you're doing and sharing. If you don't have passion, the rest make you seem boring at best, and apathetic at worst.

    Reply
  • Posted by Heather Lytle
    Mitch Joel

    As always, excellent post followed by excellent comments. I would add "Question" to the list. One of the most effective ways to build a personal brand is to truly care about people as you point out in #10. Often the connection of ideas and the connection of people starts with a question. Specifically, "What can I do for you?" If we remember to help others, to ask valuable questions and provide valuable answers others will remember us.

    One of my favorite "Social Media" quotes comes from Peter Shankman. "When self promotion is done right, it isn't self promotion"

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

    Reply
    • "Question" and "student" are very similar. My background in journalism really kicks in here. What makes a great article is the questions that are asked. Questions really do lead to a deeper understanding of everything.

      Reply
  • Posted by Paul Castain
    Mitch Joel

    Just a simple thank you for a very useful list.

    A humble "student",
    Paul Castain

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Thanks Mitch! I totally get this and am going to share with my network. I try hard to share my emotional, imperfect self in my blogs and tweets too. In fact, as soon as I started to do it, my TRUE online community started to evolve. I lost subscribers and Twitter followers... and that was fine by me, because daily I gain those who enjoy that I can be an expert in my niche of an industry but not have it all together as a human being learning to run a business. Awesome! As for Gary, he sent me a kiss on Twitter after a comment. But not sure that means he cares more than you! :) I saw you both in Calgary and think you both are passionate advocates for being genuine human beings. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Caring is a huge part of it. I don't just care about what I have to say or what you think about what I have to say. I care about the industry. I care about the perceptions of the industry. I care about young people getting active in the industry. I care about helping the more traditional people care about the many changes. It's a more global care than a personal one. It seems to work for me. I hope it can work for you.

      Reply
      • Mitch Joel

        I care about women struggling to grow businesses while raising families, having other full or part time businesses, making mistakes, losing their passion (yes, I think that IS still a relevant word). I have three daughters. I care very much that they have the mindset and opportunities to truly be and do whatever they want. I care to be a role model in the marketing industry in a new way. And it is working for me. You are lightyears ahead of understanding this monumental change than I do, but I starting to get the role I'm playing as a leader in my own right (because people tell me). It's odd since I feel behind, but it spurs me on to keep learning and growing and discovering technologies and embracing what I don't yet get, so that I can share it. My favourite thing is teaching Twitter and blogging (even though I am NOT an expert) just so I can have more people I really really like online with me! That is a HUGE win.

        Reply
  • Posted by Charles
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch I'm amazed because just when I start to doubt my ability to blog, tweet & facebook to get my business going...I read your latest post and something in there gets me going again.

    One of my biggest fears is my inability to be "polished". I don't write as well as you do or as most for that matter, my vocabulary isn't very sophisticated BUT, I can communicate what I'm trying to say.

    I won't hold back any longer...I'll let my emotions run and stay true to myself.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • You don't need a better vocabulary or a better way to communicate. There is no "better". There's just you, me and everybody else. As Oscar Wilde so brilliantly stated, "be you because others are already taken."

      It's all of the things that you mentioned that make you unique. Celebrate them. Share them. And, let us know how it goes.

      Reply
  • Posted by Ian M Rountree
    Mitch Joel

    It's amazing how we've moved from formulating personal brands to trying to allow them to grow organically like -oh my gosh - the people we are!

    It worries me a little that people seem to have marked off time in their editorial calendars for vulnerability. As if self-expression can be scheduled and marshaled as a tool for network growth.


    Treating personal branding as an exercise feels like diminished returns from the get-go. Treating it as a practice? Completely different proposition.

    Reply
  • Posted by Parissa Behnia
    Mitch Joel

    Thank you so much for this... It's always a treat to read your words because the honesty and emotion are palpable.

    I would also add "discipline" or something like that to this list. We have to keep practicing the right behaviors and accepting that we will fail many times. I know you have student in your list but discipline is something a student sometimes lacks... or maybe I'm projecting... :)

    On a (funny) side note, my struggle with my personal brand is that my first name also happens to be the brand name for a DIY body wax company. I just blogged about that last week.

    Regards,

    Parissa Behnia

    Reply
  • I appreciate you and today's post, because I know you "CARE". When you take the time each day to read someone blog (which I do yours and others), you recognize certain character traits (responding to most comments) that you can't disguise, many you discuss in this post..

    I read your blog, and I think boy, his parents MUST be proud...

    EnJOY your weekend ALL, Brian-

    Reply
  • Posted by Eric Pratum
    Mitch Joel

    I see 2 main problems with personal branding for most people.

    1) People think it's only associated with their blogs, Linkedin profiles, etc. My wife has a personal brand, but has no online presence whatsoever, so while the footprint of her personal brand might be smaller than mine, she certainly has a reputation that has been branded into people's minds. Much the same, I was at a wedding recently, where the entire table gushed over how helpful and important the groom had been in their lives. Certainly, that is part of his personal brand. I'm not saying you don't get this, Mitch. I am saying however that too many people don't.

    2) People do not consider personal brands to be businesses. While I might not have the Eric Pratum LLC or anything like that, I certainly have interactions that effectively parallel customer support, marketing, sales, etc. If I blog, I might be advertising, marketing, communicating with current or potential "clients" (in this case, probably friends or employers), etc. If I burn a bridge, that could be a job offer lost, much like a sale could be lost for a business that burns a bridge. Similar to what you say at the end of the post, how could I not take my business brand personally while also taking my personal brand businessly? My personal brand is the vehicle through which I grow, acquire, and maintain employment/relationships/etc, and to not treat that like a business would be silly.

    NOTE: I know "businessly" isn't a word, but I really wanted that mirrored phrasing.

    Reply
    • Your Personal Brand is. Many people do see the manifestation of it (or the broadcasting of it) through the Digital channels. This is normal. Prior to Social Media, most personal brands were reflected only in word of mouth instances or through a resume. We tend to forget how powerful these channels are in sharing our personal brands with the world.

      As for the businessly side (I like that word!), I could not agree more. The culmination of all of the content we produce and share (including the language we use) all makes up how people think of us and how they engage with us.

      Reply
      • Mitch Joel

        This makes me realize that overthinking how to BE authentic doesn't really matter. I think you said this already Mitch... we are who we are. I teach that "brand" is really the perception and impression people have OF us... not what we put out there. Brand equity is created when the real brand perception and our desired brand perception match. Goes for personal brands and business brands. It's easier to achieve with personal brands if we just embrace we are who we are and go with it, not overthink it or morph it into a "brand box" because some expert or friend or colleague told us how to be.

        Reply
  • Posted by John McLachlan
    Mitch Joel

    Wow. I know this sounds like a stupid empty comment to make, but I have nothing to add to this post. You really nailed it.

    I am going to share this heavily with some of my clients and social circle of artists and arts organizations. You hit on so many things that people wonder about and articulated the situation really well. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Posted by Chris Miller
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    I love the list and the encouragement to be real and consistent.

    Along the lines of honesty, I would add integrity. Stick to your values, do what you say, and your audience will always know what to expect.

    Reply
    • The word "integrity" has made me cringe since the whole Enron thing happened. I think it soured with the general population as well. I even caution brands to shy away from it. If you have to say you have integrity, doesn't that put your integrity into question?

      That being said, the definition of what integrity stands for should be the baseline/core of why you do this.

      Reply
      • Mitch Joel

        Okay... I have to laugh here... as I was just reading about this. I'm reading "Differentiate or Die" and that's exactly what they say. Everyone is EXPECTED to have integrity. If you have to shout it from the rooftops... something must be awry.

        Reply
      • Posted by Chris Miller
        Mitch Joel

        I see your point on using the word integrity itself, but still stand by it's definition. Your theory could also be applied to honesty. If you have to say you are honest, does that mean you lack honesty? Regardless of how the word integrity has been misused, it is still a core value with regard to a personal brand. Although we all hope we are connecting with individuals who have integrity, sadly many do not. I don't suggest shouting it from the rooftops, but rather demonstrating it in practice.

        Reply
  • Posted by Cale D. Hawley
    Mitch Joel

    Totally agree with your take on "personal branding" making you cringe. Myself as well. In fact that whole buzzword of branding makes me cringe. Too often people and businesses put up a "front" of "who they are" when in fact that is who they want you to think they are. Openess and Honesty. You want to improve your personal brand...stop thinking of yourself as a brand. Be yourself. If you build that "personal brand" and then people come to find out that it does not match your person values, it will be more damaging than it could have ever been to just be yourself in the first place. Now you have deceived and broken trust. "Image is everything" only if that image is truly who you are. Quit worrying about what everyone else thinks and be somebody.

    Reply
    • And that's been the problem I've had with personal branding as of late. Too many people seeing it as an image building exercise instead of an amazing gift we all now have to share with the world who we really are.

      Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    The "learning" part, oh my, I agree so much with it.
    I didn't stop learning stuff since the first day I got my feet wet in social media, and I doubt this is gonna come to an end ever.
    Thankfully I never met anyone so far with the "teacher"'s attitude, every so called "social media star" (I hate the term so much but you know what I mean) is always willing to help and share their thoughts on your ideas and accept comments and criticism. Which is the very purpose of social media at all, I think.

    Reply
  • Posted by Charles
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch...just tried calling your office to get more details on your next speaking engagement in Montreal on the 30th. I'd like to attend but forget who is putting it on...can you give me some details as to where I can register?

    Merci!

    Reply
  • Posted by MaKenzie
    Mitch Joel

    What a refreshing post. So many business today do not take these (or any!) steps to make their brand personal, and they are truly missing some substantial opportunity. I especially love #9. You can't know it all--it's amazing the results you can see if you stop talking and start listening. Thanks, Mitch!

    Reply
  • Posted by Josh Muirhead
    Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch,

    Jumping into the conversation a little late I see but to add to your list, these are the values that I would like to think have, and certainly recommend:

    Patients. One of the biggest values I find with people who are (as Gary would say) Crushing It, are those who have a little patients. They ship, and publish, but they don’t just run in, and run out of things. They give an idea some time to breath, and mature it over time

    Persistence. Often people become turned off quickly when they don’t get a comment, or no one re-tweets their “brilliant” tweet. That’s when I think to myself, “Wow if people like Mitch Joel, or Chris Brogan, or (fill in the blanks) are only getting 20 – 40 comments, I need to dig in my heals a lot longer before I can expect to come even close to that.”

    Follow-through. I know a fan favorite is Seth Godin, truly one of the greatest thinkers of our times. However, he is also someone who reads, and replies to emails (quickly I might add). He has amazing follow through, and stands behind what he talks/ writes about.

    Humility. This has to be one of my top values I look for when reading others blogs, tweets or whatever else they publish. “It’s one you know everything, that you know nothing.”

    Excellent post Mitch!

    Josh Muirhead

    Reply
    • All gems. It's interesting how most people (and the comments) are really driven by the values that all of us would attach to "what it takes to be a great human being." It's nice to see that shift. From a Marketing perspective, you would think that most of the values would be the ones in which you become more likeable so that you can access someone's wallet in a faster fashion. Not the case here. Thankfully.

      Reply
  • Posted by Chris Gill
    Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch,

    I will share your list of values with my Grade 11 Entrepreneurship class. The class just reviewed the characteristics of entrepreneurs and came up with a very similar list. The one word that struck me as important and also flows through your values is integrity. Picking up on some of the comments, it is great to be authentic, but first you need integrity.

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Reply
    • I'm all about getting students and young people to better understand these channels, so thank you for sharing. If you ever want me to do a Skype video chat with your class, I will make myself available.

      Reply
      • Posted by Chris Gill
        Mitch Joel

        Mitch,

        A Skype Video chat with the class about entrepreneurship and social media would be fantastic. Please let me know how you want me to communicate logistical details. I have some work on my end to prepare at school, but would be pleased to set things up in two weeks or so?
        Thanks,
        Chris Gill

        Reply
  • Gosh Mitch your opener made me laugh. The personal brand stuff makes me cringe too. Makes one sound like a Motivational Speaker. The type that we hear about that we hope we never meet because they are basically selling their secret. Which really is taking your money vs providing value.

    I also think it is easy to be a Lemming who teaches other Lemmings how to be a Lemming, and getting paid for it. I am proudly a subversive and a 10%er. You don't know it but you are too. That's why I truly enjoy all you share in the various media channels.

    I want to add be Logical and have the Facts even knowing people believe irrational things. But once your stance comes true people will gravitate to you. It is a fact that 95% of all Tweets and Updates in most people's Live Twitter and Facebook feeds are never seen. I did a study on this. So when someone says “But Facebook has 200mil daily logins shouldn't I have a Fan Page?” My response is only 1 of 20 people who are fans will see your updates on a good day. And significantly less will take action, I have the facts. (BTW I am estimating your own twitter feed has 10,000 tweets flowing per day, do you read them all?)

    My point is if you present Facts and Logic it improves your personal brand. It proves you are smart and did your homework. Because the minute you are exposed as either lying or being caught without the Facts to support who you are, you will lose that trust and it is really hard getting it back. BTW I have some Pets.com stock that I swear is going to be huge. Want to buy it?

    Reply
  • Posted by Tomas Bogren
    Mitch Joel

    Sure these values are great, but the best personal brand values are those that you as a single human individual believe are true. Life your values and get the best brand of all.

    Have a look at this Value map:
    And think about how your top list would look like in south america etc.

    http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/wvs/articles/folder_published/article_base_54/images/0valuemap.gif

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    This is my first visit here, and I'm hooked.

    Thanks, specifically, for your comment, "You have to be willing to put things out there that aren't polished to perfection" - it's so true, but also the aspect of online interaction that I find most difficult. It's nice to hear that perfection - which is exhausting, if not unattainable - isn't the key to building a positive online reputation. Rather, active choices - transparency, sharing, learning, listening, caring - make the difference.


    Reply
    • Some of the most creative people in the world use these platforms as a way to tinker with ideas. Use the feedback to help shape your ideas and push them further. The ones who aren't afraid to be a little "half-baked" in posting thoughts get those ideas refined in a more effective way by sharing them.

      Reply
  • Posted by Jeff Waldman
    Mitch Joel

    I'm a tad late to this conversation but I've worked with quite a few people on their personal brands. The funny thing about personal brand is that the phrase itself is somewhat new but the nitty gritty of what it actually is, is not. The reason why it's so popular (lack of a better term right now) is because of technology, which enables anyone living on this planet to build their brand instantly and on a global scale. Everything is connected via technology, unlike 20 years ago. 20 years ago, if you made a presentation then your personal brand is being cultivated through the people in the room, perhaps people who see you speak on television (for the lucky few), and of course by word-of-mouth after your presentation is finished. Now, same presentation and you can stream it, podcast it, tweet it, twitpic, this and that and you can leverage multiple technological channels real time.

    On another note Mitch, you mention a group of must-have brand values, and you also comment on being authentic and genuine. There is too much literature out there today trying to slice and dice all of this stuff. At the end of the day, all you are trying to do is build and maintain solid relationships with other people. That's it. The values you display should be "you" (i.e. what you're natural at doing) and how you go about building these relationships being you is through a plethora of channels --- web, face to face, speaking, blogging, writing, publishing, etc...

    Nothing's really changed except for technology --- not a small change actually!

    Reply
    • Agreed, but many people see it as a publishing platform and they want to ensure that they're being published in the best light. Sometimes, that combination brings out inauthentic or watered-down content... that's where it gets murky. Same can be said for those who are desperately trying to exude a "professional" personal brand.

      Reply
      • Posted by Jeff Waldman
        Mitch Joel

        I hear you... of course there is always a balancing act of "information overload". I unfollow people on Twitter because they're spamming the crap out of me! It's too much. Technology makes it so easy for you to express your perspective that can get noticed to the masses. I do agree with your comment about desperation. But, people can read between the lines and determine who is being desperate and who is not. How someone does this has nothing to do with technology itself and everything to do with the key principles of relationship building, which have been in place since the human being landed on our planet. You still need to cultivate your brand through other channels that require you to show your face and speak face to face with other people. If you remain comfortable behind your computer screen, you'll do nothing to help strengthen your personal brand.

        Reply
  • Posted by Heather Gardner
    Mitch Joel

    Bravo - I am so elated to see this type of thinking out there. Way too many times, I'm told that you "have to cut corners" or "don't wear your emotions on your sleeve", etc. in order to succeed. While I agree that crying at every little thing is probably not the most appropriate, I would rather be too emotional then not at all.

    I live by the motto :: Do right. Act right. Be right. This is my compass for everything in my life, and includes ethics, morals, decision-making, jobs to take, people to work with, everything in my business is driven by this motto. If it doesn't feel right, I don't do it. I trust my moral compass to keep me straight.

    Just a few that I would throw in the hat :: Advocate, champion, honesty, giving back, social responsibility, authenticity, and last but not least - humility.

    Just saw this as I was catching up on your blog "What Moved You in 2010". Keep up the great writing and intuition.

    Thank you!

    Reply
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