“Personal Branding” has been hotly debated recently in my circles. “Do I have a personal brand?” “Does personal branding exist?” “Am I a brand or a person?”
Part of the reason this is discussed so often is that people tend to define a personal brand in terms that don’t mean anything. By using terms for PEOPLE that are used to categorize COMPANIES, people are turned off to the concept or fail to understand the true meaning of the term.
Does personal branding exist? Yes. Do *YOU* have one? Maybe.
Basically, a “personal brand” is what people EXPECT when you come to mind. Period. Some people have this and some people don’t.
A personal brand is achieved through ACTIONS which people come to associate with your name or face. If you never DO anything that people perceive, you do not have a personal brand, IMO. This is because your name doesn’t “ring bells” and doesn’t alter anyone’s perception of a situation when they find out that you’re involved. This does NOT mean that you aren’t important… It merely means people don’t KNOW who you are and/or what you do.
For instance, if you google Emmy Award Editor I’m #1. Actually, I’m #1 AND #2, because the youtube version of the collab I did with Indy Mogul is in the second slot, with 11,240 views. People hit my resume page or my “about” page every single day, so lots of people have associated the name Bill Cammack with quality videotape editorial. This is what they EXPECT when they find out I worked on a project… Quality.
So what about Ian Jenkins?
Ian Jenkins is a friend of mine who edits and works A HELL OF A LOT HARDER than I do. 🙂 Ian edits a show for Next New Networks called “Fast Lane Daily”, which just won a 2008 Webby Award.
That’s Ian in the white FLD shirt and headphones. Also pictured are a couple of other NNN friends of mine, J-Rad & Alan Kaufman.
Now… If I had a project I wanted to get done, Ian Jenkins would be one of the top guys I’d want working with me. That’s because I happen to know his work ethic and the skill and dedication he brings to the table. I know this because I’ve spoken to him, I’ve seen his work and I know people that work WITH him. Does he broadcast this himself? No. Not that I know of. Is he crafting a personal brand? Not that I know of. He’s doing what he does. IS “Ian Jenkins” a brand? HELL YES! 😀 That’s because when *I* hear his name, I EXPECT certain things from a project Ian worked on.
So who’s the better editor? Bill Cammack or Ian Jenkins?…. Unfortunately, editing is highly subjective. The only thing that matters is whether the job gets done WELL and ON TIME. So I say NEITHER of us is better as a editor. My personal brand is more recognized, because I spend hours every day working on it and Ian doesn’t give a damn. 🙂 Ian meets deadlines every. single. day. while I play SOCOM. I’m freelance, so I’ve worked for a ton of shows, companies and people for advertising, corporate and broadcast productions. Ian’s a staffer, so he works on one show, and it runs on the internet, but he probably produces 15 videos for every one that I output. Ian shoots video as well. So do I, but I’d rather edit, and Ian’s probably better at shooting, because he does it infinitely more than I do.
My point is… You can’t tell JACK from how well someone uses the internet to publicize themselves. I’m not going to tell you to google Video Editor Resume (I’m #3) to figure out who’s GOOD or who can make it happen. That’s just a list of people that know how to use tags, or even worse, actually PAID PEOPLE to get them better rankings on google. :/ Doesn’t mean they’re any good at what they do AT ALL. Doesn’t mean their name “rings bells” IRL. What matters is what people know or perceive about you, which IS your personal brand, whether you LIKE that or not and whether you EMBRACE that or not.
Regardless of whether you brand YOURSELF, people are going to brand YOU. I started telling people to Google “Bill” (I’m currently #9 of 541,000,000 pages for “Bill”) because I don’t carry business cards, and it’s really the easiest way for people to get in touch with me. Next thing I know, hahaha this is how I’m being introduced to people at parties. 🙂 This wasn’t MY idea, but people get a kick out of that and it spreads from person to person.
Actually… And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this… 😀 Neither my professional accomplishments nor my stellar search engine rankings (e.g. women dating nyc #3) are what most people that I meet “know me for”. It’s always “….. YOU’RE that guy that’s in all those pictures with all those women! :D”.
So, BESIDES not overshadowing your BUSINESS brand with your SOCIAL brand, 🙂 the moral of our story is… Do you have a personal brand? Maybe. It depends first of all on whether you actually DO ANYTHING, and second on whether you’re letting people KNOW that you do these things or whether other people are publicizing you. If people think differently of something because you’re involved with it, that’s your PERSONAL BRAND at work. This does NOT only have to do with business either. We’ll get into that another time. You might have a personal brand when it comes to dating. The fact that you can be trusted in general and your word actually MEANS SOMETHING is potentially part of your personal brand.
There’s also NEGATIVE personal branding, such as when a client refuses to pay you for several months for work you did for them and you’re getting ready to blast their name and company all over the WORLD WIDE WEB for not living up to their agreements EVERY SINGLE DAY until you get satisfaction, which would amount to receiving PAYMENT IN FULL for services rendered. But that’s a story for another day. 😀
So that’s what I think about personal branding. If you’re in the “public” eye (as ‘public’ as our small Echo Chamber gets) brand yourself or other people will do it for you. Whatever opinions come to mind when people hear your name or see your face, that’s YOUR brand. Even if NO opinions come to people’s minds or they’ve never heard of you, that doesn’t matter as long as YOU know what you’re bringing to the table. “The Fame Game” isn’t for everybody. Not everybody CAN do it, not everybody SHOULD do it and not everybody does it WELL.
So.. Does ‘Personal Branding’ exist, or am I talking about vaporware? 😀
What do you think?