EXCERPT: Many people believe that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Justin Beiber, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others.
"Personal branding is about unearthing what is true and unique about you and letting everyone know about it. As a brand, you are your own free agent; you have the freedom to create the career path that links your talents and interests with the right position and the ability to move both vertically and horizontally, now and throughout your career."
Many people believe that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Justin Beiber, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. In Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, author Dan Schawbel teaches business professionals how to survive and thrive in the digital age. He provides readers with many of the tools necessary for defining and achieving personal brand success.
Schawbel is one of the leading authorities on personal branding, and founder of the Personal Branding Blog. I first learned of him and his book a couple months ago when I came across a 2010 article that he authored for Tamar Weinberg's blog titled "How to Use Social Media for Personal Branding." I was so impressed by his work that I began searching for more of it until eventually I found his book on personal branding. Me 2.0 seemed right up my alley, and so I bought it.
Branding is a topic that has always captivated me. It's the simple idea of a company's perceived value being, at times, greater than its actual value that interests me. Or, that reputation can have more influencing power than price. Or, that consumers can become so passionate about a brand that they'll happily defend it at the drop of a hat.
However, personal branding is a different animal altogether. Personal branding is the concept of branding oneself as if they were a product, service, or company. As brands, these individuals will market themselves, as well as their careers, education, and experiences, in a personal way so that they may influence their target market and build a relationship with them. Over the years I have become quite knowledgeable on the ideas surrounding personal branding, but this book provided me with a few additional points of views.
Schawbel uses his real life experiences to explain how he was able to create a powerful personal brand, and position himself to meet his personal and career goals. Furthermore, Schawbel offers practical advice for college students and young professionals who feel doubt, emotional stress, and fear of failure when approaching the current job market. In fact, one of the biggest takeaways for readers will likely be his 4-step program for commanding one's own career. This section features how to first discover and create one's own personal brand, and offers detailed examples for ways one can communicate and maintain their personal brand after it has been established.
Overall, Me 2.0 is a fairly good book. I found the it to be a rather short and easy read, with a few remarkable and actionable insights. However, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. Those who are somewhat versed in personal branding may find the author to be overly obvious in his assessments, and that the book fails to deliver the one or two golden nuggets they so desire. Again, the book is good, but not for all audiences. In addition, I found that some of the methods and technology to be slightly outdated, but that's to be expected with time.
Personal branding isn't going anywhere, despite how technology evolves, and to compete now and in the future, one has to manage their brand. Those with confidence, drive, and the ability to use the full potential of modern technology - including creating a powerful personal brand to define themselves and achieve their goals - will be at the forefront of this bold new world. Me 2.0 will help to keep you ahead of the competition.