Personal Branding: It’s Not Just About You

You are the company you keep.

You are the company you keep.

This may be common sense but bears repeating, your personal brand is NOT just about you.

Your personal brand encompasses not only your work product, personality, attitude, etc., but also your associations both professional and personal.

This is important as social media applications are being more readily adopted by the public.  It is a principle that should be remembered by those seeking to publicly promote their brand on the Internet.

The Internet has allowed each of us to network in ways not dreamed of 10 years ago.  It has allowed for  traditional barriers to establishing networks to be broken.  New and old connections are constantly formed and reinforced.  Networks are being redefined as the broad scope that they can encompass increases.

The danger lies in the broader your network, the greater risk of having a “bad connection.”  That is, someone associated with you acting in a way that does not conform to your brand.  The association doesn’t have to be that strong, i.e. a close friend.  It could be through photos, articles, boards, etc.  Think about the hoopla during the presidential race concerning Obama and Ayers or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

While your actions largely impact the personal brand message you wish to convey, associations for better or worse, can heavily influence the way people perceive you and the credibility of your brand, just as easily as the clothes you wear, your hairstyle, or the way you speak can.   Is it right that we make these judgments?  No, but it is human nature.  A great book to read on this subject is Malcom Gladwell’s Blink.

I’m not saying that one should seek to associate themselves with the “right” kind of people; friendships defined in such ways are not friendships at all.  Moreover, networks are becoming so expansive that one would be hard-pressed to eliminate all the “wrong” associations from your contact list.

The point is one should be aware, just as their own actions affect their personal brand, so too can the actions of associates.  While you can’t control another individual’s actions, you have a measure of control in how it may affect your brand.

//A.J.

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2 Comments on “Personal Branding: It’s Not Just About You”

  1. […] a post I wrote in June titled Personal Branding: It’s Not Just About You, I discussed how your associations, both professional and personal, can have an impact in terms of […]

  2. […] Both are buying not just clothes but the identity that particular brand carries with it whether consciously or not.  While the clothes don’t make the person, what you wear certainly does go into your personal brand. […]


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