Thursday, August 28, 2008

Personal Brand

I hear everyone – and I include myself – bandying about the term “personal brand” a lot lately. I was very excited when I first heard the term but, like any buzzword, it has become vague, overused and misunderstood. It’s become a marker on the edge of our community along with “trespassers shall be prosecuted”, “don’t litter”, and “act today, don’t delay!”

“This area is posted as my personal brand” is how some folks are claiming space in a world that seeks originality and ‘hot’ new things. Personal branding seems to imply that one owns the item/idea/approach in question. Personal brand (PB) has become about external markers and marketing.


If there are only 7 notes on the musical scale, then music by that definition can’t be reinvented or owned. Therefore, symphonies are an individual’s interpretation of the original scale and the style of interpretation could be called “personal brand’ (PB).

Style is made of so many things – some original for sure! and some interpretations. Perhaps some pieces of style are merely used ‘as is’. I love cinnamon – it’s a signature scent of mine; part of my style – but not owned or interpreted by me. (but I digress…)

PB is, simply put, one’s personal style. Style is made up of so many things – all selected by the individual and deemed important to their sense and portrayal of self. Visual presentation, oral presentation, career choices, philosophies, organizations joined.... There is no definitive checklist.

So – going forward – when we talk about our PB, let’s discuss which element of our style we’re discussing at that moment. Let’s not use it to claim territory but to include and share the space around us. Let’s examine the philosophies, visuals, ideas, ethics and actions that make us individual. (No one woman has the exact same wardrobe as another even if they frequent the same stores!). It’s not about marketing our PB – it’s about expanding, developing and sharing the pieces that sum up and influence our personal style/brand.

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