Great post, @newraycom — I agree with many of your points and really don’t understand what all the controversy is about regarding personal branding. I’ve had the same debate with Olivier. Yes, I think “professional branding” is a better term as so much of the misunderstanding is largely due to semantics as people tend to get hung up on the “personal” part. But personal branding is nothing more than what companies do: distilling down a fairly large message into one concise, compelling message that is then communicated in various ways so that it is memorable. Otherwise, their messaging is diluted and then they have no hope of carving a path through all the other competition and noise.
Yes, any kind of branding is an attempt to influence, but that does not mean it is disingenuous. Rather, I see branding as a very pure and honest act: defining your true essence and then encapsulating that in such a way that it is clear and cannot be ignored. Sure, there are rotten eggs everywhere — brands and people who are dishonorable and display phony images of themselves, but that should not define personal branding in and of itself as being rotten too.
I think it is much wiser to focus on what branding should be and aspire to that, rather than disregard it altogether. Let’s face it, just hoping that others will understand what you’re about and letting them define you through their own misguided perceptions is not very accurate or helpful, and certainly not a reasonable alternative.
@PaulBiedermann Thanks for dropping by, Paul.
In some ways, personal branding just happens. The image we portray and the messages we convey combine to form a perception by which others identify us. Because we're human, we're rarely consistent. So I agree, as much as it is possible it better to manage your "brand" than it manage you.
Appreciate your feedback. Thanks.