Since Dan Schawbel published his book Me 2.0 it seems that the PR blogs are going on and on about your personal branding and what it means today. I do agree that each person the navigate the "tubes" of the internet and the cubicals of the office needs to be aware of his or her perception. But I am wondering if, well, this branding concept is going too far?
Last week I attended a networking "how-to" before SpringTime Unplugged. Ira Koretsky of the The Chief Storyteller was the session leader. One of his main points was, your elevator speech shouldn't begin with I, it should begin with we. People you connect with want to see that you are a team player, they don't want to hear or see your resume (that is what LinkedIn is for). He went on to talk about sharing things about yourself before asking questions about a new contact.
What I keep coming back to is, Ira's concepts are really just about getting out there and being open about who you are. You have to be genuine while doing that or others will see through you. So how exactly would you brand yourself in keeping the successful concepts of networking in mind? Yes, you can be conscious of what you say on twitter, facebook, etc and I would hope most professionals would already be doing that. Do we really need think about branding yourself as a genuine person then? One could argue that that is your brand, but I would argue that someone who has not consciously decided on a brand has not done so. Is it the web 2.0 PR pitch?
As I am trying to decide, I am thinking about how people are the opposite of branded in the negative sense. They are the people that are notorious where ever you go and not for good reasons. In one of my grad school classes at GMU there was a guy that was known throughout campus by his military branch and first name. If you ever said the branch and name together students would run far, far, away. Why? Because he tried to be the professors pet but never succeeded....He was long winded and tried to make points in class but hadn't read the materials....He wanted to work with the smartest students on group projects but couldn't pull his weight. Military guy never really got on the boat and he didn't network correctly. He didn't follow through and he didn't know what in the world he was talking about.
My point is, that "positive branding" is really just being a knowledgeable and likable person. Someone who is able to get the job done; that go to guy. Branding, for me, is negative. Being that person that doesn't know if they are on or off the bus or that there even IS a bus.