Can your personal brand go out of date? Is there really such thing as a “Personal Brand”?
If you’re name is Oprah, Madonna, Gordon Ramsay, or Steve Jobs, then yes, there is certainly a personal brand. If you are a small business owner, whose personal reputation is tied completely to the business, then possibly your personal reputation is fused with your business branding. If you don’t fit into either of these two categories, you probably don’t have a “Personal Brand”.
You have a reputation. You may project a particular, possibly stereotypical view of yourself. Neither are a brand.
Sony, as a brand, is known for innovation in entertainment. The Walkman, the Diskman, the Playstation, were at one point cutting edge technological advances in how we experience audio and video. That’s a serious brand, with a concrete brand message.
Gordon Ramsay is known the world over for having impeccable taste in food with the highest standards of quality and service, along with a potty mouth. You know if you step foot in one of his restaurants, the quality of food is going to be bar none. If you buy his cookware, you know its going to last. That’s a personal brand.
If you meet a man named Joe, who says he is a plumber, does he have a brand? It’s possible, that in his community, the name Joe’s Plumbing is known for excellent service, and it may extend to Joe, but not necessarily.
Individuals don’t have to worry about branding. They need to focus on reputation, and having integrity. Some of the same concepts come into play, such as treating people well, being a hard worker, etc., but it isn’t the same thing as having “Brand awareness.”
So, keep your aol.com email addresses. Tell people, “I’m retro”. If you still have an old @CS.com, you’re vintage!