On Being a Brand

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The term “personal branding” rubs some people the wrong way – and in one sense I can understand why: the term “brand” reminds us of products, and people certainly aren’t emotionless commodities to be consumed by others. But on the other hand, we all want people to know who we really are – to get the facts straight when it comes to something as important as our identities. In last week’s Career Compass event, Professor Kim Saxton shared her thoughts on personal branding – specifically, branding through the art of blogging.

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, tells us to “Bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity.” This, Professor Saxton stressed, is the foundation of personal branding. Thus, it’s important to know what exactly your authentic voice sounds like before you begin. In every encounter on- and off-line, you want to be yourself: that is your brand. “Personal branding” isn’t finding a brand that you fit into, but creating a brand that reflects who you are.

“But what does branding have to do with blogging?”

Glad you asked! A few ways they relate, in no particular order:

  • A blog allows people to see what you think – and how you think.
  • It connects your name to your brand, as evidenced by the simple, but ever-revealing “Google search”.
  • It’s a versatile medium: allowing you to choose how best to communicate your message (e.g., long/short text, videos, photos).
  • It’s a differentiator in a sea of young professionals who look the same on paper.
  • It allows you to measure success of your brand's reach using metrics of your choosing.

As someone new to blogging myself, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Professor Saxton’s insights into personal branding and the world of blogging. I contribute to the Kelley Biz Blog here at The Art of Business and to U lala (a web publication for university women) in addition to maintaining a blog that’s completely my own. Publishing my thoughts in such a public venue has been both terrifying and empowering. It’s forced me to really consider and ‘own’ my ideas – an exercise that has benefitted both my reasoning and writing skills. In the end, this comes back to Professor Saxton’s first point: in order to communicate who you are, you need to know who you are – and articulating your brand is a good way to polish it.

Thank you to IUPUI, Kelley School of Business, and IndyHub for hosting this event!