It struck me the other day that the whole idea of "personal branding" is bullshit, and also so very marketing — and this is coming from someone who has spend a fair bit of time in the "field of marketing". Although, I would also be the first person to say you need to develop your "personal brand" (and yes a bit of a contradiction is presenting itself).
Before you call bullshit, hear me out — and believe me I shall be brief.
The Internet has given rise to many things in such a short period of time; 50 % good and 50 % not so good — and we have all adapted. One of things that has taken off is the concept of personal branding, and although not a new concept, it has very much accelerated because it is next to simple to get a great photograph of yourself, create a YouTube channel, and set up as many social media feeds as you can handle — and if you are reasonably calculated, present yourself in the perfect light, and with the perfect personal branding. Sadly, most will be taken at face value if it looks great and if it's entertaining. Sadder still though, there's also a collective understanding that under the thin veneer that is the internet, there lives an expectation that not everything is really as truthful as portrayed — and we seem to be alright with it. Another example of the adaption to the Internet I suppose.
Becoming lost is the word reputation (and maybe even the concept); you know, the overall quality or character as seen or judged by people. Reputation is a word of substance — something that takes a long time to build, and sadly if you are not careful, can be lost quickly (and maybe never recovered). Your reputation is built upon your character and abilities, and although sometimes masked for a little while, will always truly represent who you are. The personal brand is forever nebulous and changing based on the environment that fosters it, while reputation is solid and built on your character and capability.
Maybe all I am really trying to get across is that if your personal brand is not built upon your character and abilities (your reputation if you will), then it simply is all just bullshit.
PS — For those who may not be familiar with the term
NOUN — stupid or untrue talk or writing; nonsense.
VERB — talk nonsense to (someone), typically to be misleading or deceptive.