You don't have a brand. The corruption of the term "Personal Brand"

Those of us involved in personal brand Personal Branding, known as personal branding, have been trying for years to avoid misunderstanding; and I'm afraid we haven't succeeded. .

The Chief Operating Office of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, made that very clear a couple of years ago. It was within the framework of an interview by Jessica Holand on the BBC entitled "The case against personal brands”. She saidYou don't have a brand, so don't pack yourself like a brand. ".

If you have just a minute, here's a video summary (in Spanish):

You don't have a brand. You leave one (or many) brand/s.

Sandberg referred to the personal brand as a limited version of the person. In her own words:

What we each have is a voice, which can be complex, contradictory and sometimes wrong. Don’t package yourself. Just speak honestly, factually and from your own experience.

I couldn't agree more with her. A few days ago in this same blog I was talking about personal brand and vulnerability. We are wonderfully imperfect, and vulnerable. That sets us apart from machines (for the moment).

Contradiction, empathy, honesty, facts and experience are part of the rich and complex personal brand we print on others. You don't have a brand, Starbucks has, and Zara, and Audi. Dali did not have a brand, he left a brand, a great legacy. Churchill did not have a brand. He left several brands.

Each person will interpret you in a different way, and that's why one can leave a personal brand that's not homogeneous between different people.

The misunderstanding: to think personal brand is created as if it were a trademark

When someone speaks of "create" your personal brand begins the confusion. I know no one talks about "creating" with malicious intent. But if you create brand, It will be packed, designed in a unique way, as a commercial product. We have fought hard against this. The issue is not to create a character. Personal branding is more complex, as much as the personal brand. The corruption of the term personal branding comes from far away and people who have university doctorates.

trademarks / William Recolons

The first American evangelists (William Arruda, Dan Schawbel, Tom Peters, Catherine Kaputa, Seth Godin, Brenda Bence, Jason Alba…) They spoke of 'create'. But for me, creativity is to start from scratch, or as the publicist says Toni Segarra, is 'do not copy'. And personal branding not part of zero, because it is, according Jeff Bezos, "what say you others when aren't on your side".

Another confusion: personal image with personal branding

Sandberg also equates to personal image personal brand. In his words:

The emphasis on presenting a strong public image is especially pronounced in these times of economic uncertainty; a “giant economy” growing and fiercely competitive has made digital profiles a crucial part to take advantage of work opportunities.

He's right, at times VUCA, If you are one more, disappear. But it is not a strong public image. It is your own public image, without further ado: that you already differs from those who do not. But please, Deletes the word "strong" from your vocabulary, because it can lead you to modify your image.

I do not advocate that at any time we communicate with our failures, but it is absurd to introduce ourselves as infallible beings. Just explain in this blog the difference between personal image and personal branding, and also the difference between personal branding and reputation. Language creates reality, so they say the coach.

We do not sell us. Buy transformation.

Another common confusion about personal branding is the need "to sell us". Isn't it?, Personal branding, will not be. It will be self-conscious, understand if that project (the brand) is aligned with what we are (the identity), you will create a plan clinging to a value proposition, a relevant difference. And of course, Finally there is a marketing stage, We should let us see, without that our potential customers will not see us to an aggregator of value, a transformer.

What we sell is our job. But not the time that we spend, but the value that we add. Unfortunately, many companies still pay their employees by heat Chair (weather). That will change to results, transformation, to value. My daughter will see it. Fortunately.

In summary, personal brand is corrupt, but not dead

A long time ago that among colleagues we are talking about the need to change the term "personal brand. Several ideas have emerged. Daniel Romero-Abreu, "Thinking Heads of President speaks of"Personal positioning”. Andrés Pérez Ortega prefer"personal strategy”. I speak of human branding"Human branding”. The term marks staff is corrupt, especially if people as relevant as Sandberg understood it in a unique sense of marketing.

Accepted proposals. At the moment, and leave misunderstandings, I consider myself to be a strategist of personal branding that also applies in training and conferences.

Remember, you have an identity and leave a rich brand, complex varied... and only. Discover it, working on it, shape it, understand it and always with moderation, project it. Or not.


Stock Photos from Iko / Shutterstock.

About me Guillem Recolons

Convinced that everything leaves a mark, I help companies to better connect with their stakeholders through personal branding programs (personal brand management) and employee advocacy (internal brand ambassadors programs).

Partner at Integra Personal Branding and Soymimarca, I also collaborate with Ponte en Valor, Brandergizers, MoreThanLaw, Noema Consulting, AdQualis Human Results and Quifer Consultores.

As lecturer, participated in the Graduate Social Media of UPF and UVic, in various programs at IESE and ISDI, among other. Advertising man, Master en Marketing. Grade student of Humanities.

My DNA comes from advertising 20 years in agencies: BBDO, J.W.T., Bassat Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Altraforma and TVLowCost among others.

Want to see my TEDx talk?

Visit my site
See all my publications
5 replies
    • Guillem Recolons
      Guillem Recolons says:

      Certain Ilana, the word “Branding” It can be interpreted as “marketing”, and if the idea of “package yourself” It is understood. I understand the branding as the humanization of brands, personal branding is undoubtedly a reflection of the complexity of human, is very far from the idea of “Pack us”. Thank you for contributing, a hug!!

  1. Oscar Del Santo
    Oscar Del Santo says:

    Guillem thank you very much for this important and significant post.

    I believe that – using the language of analytic psychology – your allegation is against a ' personal brand’ that responds to the wishes of the ' ego’ using our experience and that of others for a so-called benefit. And how very well you indicate, This ' marketing’ or ' reification’ our life experience is deeply false and falseadora.

    On the other hand, I understand that you are in favour of a ' personal brand’ to respond to the best of ourselves: what the ancients would have called our ' soul’ and that we today call the be. This ' brand’ It will be genuine because it will not hide our vulnerability, but it re-interpretará it within a context of our transformation and personal growth.

    If my interpretation of the profound meaning of your words is true, I can not agree more on the need to transcend a brand ' ego’ by another authentic containing optimally all our complexity as human beings living a unique and constantly evolving experience. And is that – as well indicate the great psychiatrist Edward F Edinger – We don't have a soul: is the soul (transpersonal and transcendent) who we have to us.

    Thanks again for this very important post.

    • Guillem Recolons
      Guillem Recolons says:

      Hello Oscar, Thank you for generating these essential gatherings. I think that the COO of Facebook erroneously interprets personal branding as the expression of a traditional advertising campaign. Hence his idea of “Don't package yourself”. Unfortunately, the interpretation of Sandberg is very common among good part of journalists from around the world, which leaves the term “marca personal” as a brand “ego” and not as a rich mark that represents the personality and value proposition, and that even, as you say, It goes beyond that and includes aspects such as experience, evolution and soul. I send you a big hug!

  2. Carlos Rojo Jr..
    Carlos Rojo Jr.. says:

    Hi Guillem, I like your post with thoughts that lead to the constructive discussion of evolution as people and professionals. I can't be more agree with you comment and makes me think to correct the criterion I have about the definition that I do my professional track as a "trademark" as if my identity, It continues to be our identity, even if other aspects. Hence the confusion that causes. Because, consider, the only drawback to the post, It is very difficult, Impossible Dino, "change" the definition of personal branding on the other, in reality people are habits and each named the same essence with different names without losing the identity. Not be if I explained to me. a greeting.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Basic information on data protection

Head "William Recolons Argenter

Purpose »Management doubts and customer services

Legitimization "interested Consent

Rights "You have the right to access, correct and delete data, and other rights, as explained in the additional information

Additional information »You can see additional and detailed information on Personal Data Protection on my website