I just realized why I have enjoyed reading about personal branding so much. I’ve been doing some reading on it – mostly for a course that I’m working on. I have read books about it. I’ve read blogs about it. I’ve walked through a branding exercise and just recently talked to some marketing people about it.
The reason why I love it so much is because it deals with the development and the sculpting of the Functional Self. For an explanation of the Functional Self, please click here and here. Personal branding focuses on the projected sense of self – the one you project on to your profile, page, or blog.
I am working through Six Pixels of Separation, and I’ve also read this idea in a few other books and blogs. These authors all talk about being honest – being honest with your brand – being honest with your product. They talk about projecting a functional self that best represents the real self. The reason why they are writing about is because it is natural for people to project a functional self that they want people to see and interact with – ergo “functional.” In theory and in practice, people will project an incomplete sense of self, but you can kinda create yourself-you can kinda create a brand. Mitch Joel in Six Pixels of Separation says that, “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.” You have become what Google says you are, not what you say you are.
The theory does say though that even an incomplete self can still reveal though a little of the real self. The self that you project is still you – even if it’s not completely true and that says something about you – even though I don’t know it.