I've read a lot about becoming a personal brand over the last few months (although I can find articles on it going back a few years). It all started about a year ago when a friend of mine casually mentioned to me that I should be working on making myself a "brand." Being that I was in the middle of writing my first book, I was open to any kind of advice. This was the first mention to me of the now ubiquitous movement. At first, it sounded like a good idea. Make a Facebook page, a Twitter, a Tumblr, start up a blog, wear the same color lipstick every single day (or something), and the next thing you know you have turned yourself into something marketable. A brand.
But as time went by, I started to feel uneasy about the word "brand." So, as good as this idea seemed in theory, I can't help but dislike the overall idea of it.
1. Personal branding takes away from who you are as an individual, and turns you into something people want you to be.
2. It is starting to go a little too far. Articles are being written about staying "on brand" all of the time. Such as, making sure where you eat lunch is on brand. What if you just want to grab a burger?
3. It reminds me a little bit too much of the Plastics from Mean Girls (on Wednesdays, we wear pink).
4. It puts more emphasis on your campaign than the quality of your product.
5. It's becoming clear that you need you watch everything you do and say.
A lot of emphasis is being put on making sure all of your social media outlets represent the exact same thing. There is no room for error. If you are having a bad day, and end up complaining about something, this could be perceived as being "off brand," and we wouldn't want that.
6. How you are seen by others should never be this important.
"...your Tweets and any social media posts should stay within your market niche and your in-person behavior should be representative of how you want others to perceive you." -- Forbes
This is the exact opposite of how I want to live my life. My social media outlets are my own. My thoughts and actions are my own. Putting so much emphasis of how others perceive us is a recipe for disaster. Personal branding has become so overwhelming, that the entire "personal" aspect of it is becoming erased.
"How do people currently perceive you? How large is the gap between the current you and the person you want others to perceive you to be? What needs to change and why?" -- Forbes
While the message of this statement could be taken positively, one very important thing about this question catches my eye. I believe it should say "How large is the gap between the current you, and the person you WANT to be?" There is no mention of the individual at all.
Overall, it seemed impossible to constantly live your life on brand. The sheer pressure and conformity of it all reminds me way too much of trying to be popular in high school. So while I completely understand it as a business strategy, I really hope to see it calm down a little bit in the next year or so, and become a little less demanding.