As the marketing saying goes, “brands want to be people and people want to be brands.”
When Tom Peters wrote “A Brand Called You” in Fast Company in 1997, he first popularized the whole notion of personal branding:
“As of this moment, you’re going to think of yourself differently! … You don’t ‘belong to’ any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn’t to any particular ‘function.’ You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. Starting today, you are a brand.”
I wonder what Tom Peters would make of the evolution of personal branding in the past 22 years, as social media poured rocket fuel on it. Everyone has a megaphone now.
I find it interesting that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg objects to the idea of personal branding. Here’s what she said at a conference in 2017:
“You don’t have a brand. I get this question a lot, and I shudder every time. Crest has a brand. Perrier has a brand. People are not that simple. When we are packaged, we’re ineffective and inauthentic.”
Of course, it’s ironic that I’m mocking the state of personal branding on a blog and cartoons I’ve branded as marketoonist. But, as with most of my cartoons, I’m usually making fun of myself and things I struggle with.
Ultimately, any brand is defined by what others say about the brand, not by what the brand says about itself (or himself or herself).
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Rebranding” September 2014