Sunday, 29 September 2013

Searching for an alternative to 'personal brand'

For some time now I have been struggling with the term 'personal brand'. In presentations I give on building a professional online presence, the concept of 'brand' filters in, within the context of making a mark and standing out from the crowd. It is important to consider connectedness between professional profiles on the social networks and websites we create to share our writing, portfolios, work, achievements etc. Having a username and photo that is recognised is important as is a consistent bio. To some degree a consistent style can be helpful to others to visually link one profile to another. Is this distinctiveness branding? 

define: Brand
Noun: A type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name. Verb: Mark with a branding iron.

Here's my definition: A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. 
A brand's value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.
An excerpt from Seth Godin's blog post on the definition of brand  

Godin associates brand with a product or service. It could be argued that as professionals we may provide a service of some description or indeed a product, but as an Educator it doesn't sit comfortably with me. I reached out to my connections on Twitter to get some thoughts.

I did immediately warm to the idea of personal marque and yet when I looked at the definition for this it still has close links with brand...

define: Marque
A brand of a manufactured product, especially a model of motor car 

Kirsty offered professional identity and this was echoed by Brianne when I asked the question of my LinkedIn connections. Chrissi suggested profile and Barbara value proposition

What are your thoughts? The importance of developing our professional online identities are clear. How we refer to this, at least for myself is cloudy. I welcome your suggestions!


  1. I agree with your disquiet with the word 'brand'. People who use it to describe themselves are, to me, just mindless clones of the corporate system, buying into everything (in particular the language) used to stop people thinking for themselves.

  2. Personally, I like the simplicity of just "About Me" - it cuts to the chase of my online and offline self - it's just who I am.