Positioning your Personal Brand

Having taken on this new role of blogging on the Personal Branding Blog, I naturally have been looking at many of the other personal brands that are out there. A few names come to mind very quickly when you think about strong personal brands: Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Jobs (the only non blogger), Jonathan Schwartz, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Seems to me when you think of these individuals you also think of some attribute(s) about each of them. Essentially that’s the position they occupy in your mind whenever you think of them. Take Robert Scoble for example – I think blogging, I think Microsoft, and I think Video.

So what does your Personal Brand stand for?

But as I review them I also do a review of my own personal brand and where I want to drive my own brand. Early on I purposely chose Buzz Marketing but decided to niche-ify it with applying it only to Technology – hence my blog Buzz Marketing for Technology was born. I went from wide to narrow. Is it too narrow?

Ask Gary Vaynerchuk and he would say no – “I don’t care how small your niche is … find what you want to do every day and DO THAT!

Is your brand growth oriented or more of a value play? Buzz Marketing is more growth than value and I am sure you would prefer more value in this economy. Recently, I got a call from a good friend who just got laid off and I did a quick review with him of his personal brand. He is a consultant that does cost reduction efforts. Great but in what industries, in what parts of the company I asked him – where won’t you provide those services? What economic value were you able to create with those services – was it growth, customer intimacy or just cost reduction?

Either way you craft your brand I believe you need to continually refine it, keep these things in mind and test. Prune your brand every 6 months and be sure to have a clear objective (see last post on Becoming a Thought Leader)

5 Tests for your Personal Brand

  1. Is your brand objective still relevant? Do you need to rearticulate it?
  2. Is your brand a growth or value brand? Should you shift direction?
  3. Is your brand wide or narrow? Should you narrow /widen it more?
  4. What industries won’t your brand play in? Should you include/exclude more?
  5. Where in the company won’t your brand play? Should you include/exclude more?

4 comments to Positioning your Personal Brand

  • Debra Murphy


    For those of us that are independent service providers, our personal brand is also our company brand. The 5 questions you posted for testing the validity (or authenticity) of your personal brand are the same questions businesses should be asking as well. Staying aligned and true to your brand makes marketing your business that much easier.

    Good thoughtful post.

  • Tracey

    Hi Paul,
    The reason I started reading your blog was because it’s focused on technology. I find that many of the marketing blogs out there aren’t relevant to what I’m doing – they’re more geared towards consumer products. I’d rather see some depth of information (which is lacking in most blogs, I think), then get information that’s a mile wide but shallow.

  • John Johansen

    Paul, interesting post and congrats on the new blogging gig.

    With all the hype around personal branding, I’ve actually tried to come at it from the opposite angle you lay out in your first two paragraphs.

    You mention a few big names that are familiar to people in our space (though not sure if they’re ‘household’ names yet, except for Jobs — the only non-blogger). And, associated with those people are some attributes they have.

    But, in the quest to make a personal brand useful without the pseudo-celebrity status, I try to look at it from the other direction.

    Within my network (and hopefully extended network) when people think of attributes, I want my name to pop into their mind.

    For example, I’ve been seeing posts after I run into people at events that include a mention of how cheerful or energetic I seem. While that’s not been purposeful, when they think of someone upbeat, I’m likely to come to mind.

    That’s where I see the value in a personal brand. Rather than being in the spotlight, I’d rather be pulled aside off-stage to talk with someone personally.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ John

    Great point – not everyone needs to be a household name – in fact if everyone does become a household name – then no one is a household name

    thanks for commenting

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