Have you ever noticed how some ideas or activities can get caught up in the causality dilemma? Not sure what that is? Well, you probably know it as “the chicken or the egg?” Certainly, it’s not often that we need to ponder what came first. Yet, there are aspects of our careers and business lives that can benefit from considering causality. Personal branding is one of them.
As I would frame it, the causality dilemma for branding is this: Does “your brand” find its grounding in the carefully crafted word picture you present to the world, or in the way you engage the world every day?
As personal branding has become mainstream, there’s been a flood of advice on how to create, or build, yours. These days, it’s not just brand strategists who promote the importance of branding, but also career coaches, resume writers, social media strategists, and other experts. Lots of people are jumping on the “brandwagon.”
As you might expect, the spectrum of advice ranges from on-target and useful to misguided or superficial. Even detractors have offered advice; namely, personal branding is loathsome, so don’t do it. Yet, the consensus is that you need to have a personal brand, leading more and more people to buy in.
And why not? Building a brand is generally perceived as the hallmark of success in business. It is believed to offer a differentiation that supports competitive advantage. But does it really?