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Good and Bad Effects of Personal Branding

The term ‘personal brand’ is nothing new even roughly two decades back when there was no social media, as it was used way back in 1997 by Tom Peters who said, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer of the brand called You”.

This is considered as the first mention of the term ‘Personal branding’.  The term sounds to have a lot of meaning then and was exclusive for the top brass people, as they had a lot of responsibility in carrying forward their own values along with the brands’ they represented as both were related in many ways. Any deterioration of their personal values will reflect very bad on their brands and hence it remained important for them to maintain a personal brand or in Tom Peters words, Me Inc.

This holds true for today’s CEOs as well.  As the number of CEOs out of the world population is a very negligible number, it didn’t and even doesn’t matter a lot, had the personal brand remained exclusive only for CEOs. With the arrival of social media, it is not just the personal brands that are being created but everybody aspires to be a CEO of their own company, even if it is an individually manage one. 

But doesn’t it sound very erratic to comprehend in a strange way? It definitely does! But there are both good and bad effects associated with personal branding. The understanding of the effects could be very controversial as it is a good deed that everyone puts and shares their opinions across, but there is also an increasing risk of the average standard of ingenuity becoming sub-standardized.

A few effects of personal branding are listed below: 

1. Pseudo-intellectualism

 Although it is a good scenario where everybody has their own voices of wisdom, it needs to be attained over a period of time, not with the purchase of a smartphone.

This becoming a crass reality may sound logically not plausible, but the factual data is not suggesting the same. 92% of the babies under the age of two have their digital presence in today’s world.  In such a future when everyone starts thinking himself as a brand or as a virtually wise CEO, the relatively perceived fake wisdom seems to be apparently within reach, making every one live in their own world of illusory wisdom.

This can make us impudent towards our fellowmen resulting in clash of such illusory wisdoms.  With all due respect to every online publisher, the risk of getting run into futile information that is the outcome of a projected, self-promoted intelligentsia cannot be neglected. 

Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis rightly argued that personal branding is a leadership requirement and not a self promotional campaign, in which the latter has become the reason for many social activities.

2. Genuine CEOs will be more persevering

This could be considered as a good effect of the whole phenomenon. As everyone have their digital footprints, and the success of the very same is measured by the online shares and likes, by other virtual CEOs, it would become a clash between the egos.

This leads to a very unhealthy competition in which we would be obstinate to appreciate genuine thoughts and actions, as everything happens there online competing with our own brand and its related activities.  This would in turn delay the recognition of genuine efforts and may discourage people to abandon what they do and leave the competition out of dejection.

Thus, such an unhealthy competition would further filter and give us the most persevering genuine CEOs of tomorrow.

3. More a product; lesser a human

Thus as social media fever encourages many to put up unreal exaggerations of real life events on Facebook that has been discussed to death, personal branding is a different version of the same issue, where self commoditization is done via social media to embellish one’s personal and hence the market value. 

Thus there are both good and bad effects of the personal brand building exercises that are becoming more popular nowadays out of which the negative effects can be ruled out by using the social media responsibly.  It is important to understand that personal brand building is not a part of our fashion statement.

Building a personal brand is nurturing oneself with real values and that comes with acting responsibly.

Image Source: The ladders

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