Anyone who is familiar with the marketing world has heard the term “branding”. In some forms branding is a great thing. It allows consumers to have instant association between a name and a product. Then there was “personal branding”, almost any human recourses official will try to tell you that you should focus on defining “your brand” like you are any other product they are tasking you with peddling. First let’s take a look at the term “Human Recourses” I for one preferred the days when employees were referred to as “personnel” rather than the “recourses” that our employers have begun to view us as. Think about it, what do we do as a society with recourses? We use them for our own personal gain until they are depleted and dead, not a very pretty picture is it, and especially not when we are the “resource”.
A current “norm” in business is also to refer to employees as “human capital”. To me this would make it seem as if we are all “slaves” to our employers and any attempt to pretend otherwise has been forsaken. Or perhaps we are all just numbers and “human capital” is easier to expense off on a balance sheet. This brings us to the “personal branding” and why it should not only be seen as detrimental but blatantly wrong.
- We want the companies that we work for to view us as human beings and not just a number on a spread sheet. Why then does it make sense for us to facilitate this idea by commoditizing ourselves? We should not it is that simple, yes from a marketing standpoint your customers or target market should associate you (as a human being) with the service you are providing. What they should not see you as is a living/breathing version of the company you work for.
- Personal brands are almost always false. Is your “brand” who you really are? Or is it just a face that you put on when you head to that sales meeting. This type of dual personality will leave us feeling dissatisfied in almost every scenario. After all the customers aren’t buying from the “real” you they are buying from a figurine for the company.
- Defining yourself by a personal brand is by its very nature limiting your potential. Think about it, brands don’t change; they disappear sometimes but never really change. One thing that I know for sure is that as humans, the ability to change or adapt to situations is what makes us so wildly successful. Limiting yourself by defining a “brand” that is you is going to do nothing but make it incredibly difficult to change when the need arises.
Face the real issue
On a final note I would like to say that at one point the idea of “branding” myself appealed to me greatly. What I discovered though was that this desire to be recognized as a “brand” was really caused by an underlying problem I was having in my life. When we are dealing with issues we often seek out ways to distract ourselves from them. Focusing our time and energy on developing our “brand” is an effective way to let the real issue go unresolved. But in the end nothing is going to make the problems go away until you face them head on.