In 1997, the management guru Tom Peters wrote in Fast Company:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.”
Fast forward 20 years and leading marketing blogger and author, Mark Schaefer, asserts that “being intentional about your (personal) brand doesn’t mean you’re a fake or inauthentic. It means you’re smart.” (SOURCE)
“So can we please get over this nonsense that a “personal brand” isn’t a thing? I don’t think any professional business person today will claim that their public image, reputation, popularity, and presence isn’t important. All of that is part of your brand, even if you hate the term (as I do)”
Meanwhile, in 2020, Schaefer said he was “saved” by his personal brand.
He wrote in this article that when Covid hit, his business “tanked”.
“What was my place in this new world? I am a speaker without a stage, a consultant who is irrelevant to clients in a deep crisis, a college educator without students, an author with an unbelievable 90 percent drop in book sales when the virus hit in March.”
A few months later, he wrote that he was “saved from this shipwreck” by his personal brand.
“If you are KNOWN in your industry, you have a permanent, sustainable competitive advantage,” Schaefer says.
Let’s continue fast forwarding …
Today, we are pummelled with news and information about robots and AI, and how they’re changing the way we do business, including replacing human workers. Forbes reports that the World Economic Forum estimates that AI will replace some 85 million jobs by 2025.
Of course, figures like this have caused much hysteria and media headlines, and while there are two side to the AI coin (i.e. yes, AI will take some jobs, but it’s likely to help create a lot more), one thing is clear: in a world increasingly dominated by bots and artificial intelligence – ChatGPT, for instance – credible entrepreneurs and subject matter leaders will become important ‘beacons of truth’ for their industry and as such, will develop even greater influence as as people seek out their insights and expertise.
In short, it’s never been more critical to build your profile and reputation as a leading voice in your industry, to become what I like to call a ‘Credible Authority’.
At the end of the day, your personal brand is all you’ve got.
Of course, this is not new – Gary Vaynerchuk was beating this drum as far back as 2008 when he said:
“Reputation is all you’ve got. Your personal brand is all you’ve got. It’s what you monetize against.” (SOURCE)
If Gary Vee utters those same words today, I bet they’d be said with far greater urgency than 15 years ago!
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