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Hey Louise, nice to hear your thoughts here. However, I am not convinced you completely understand the notion of developing a personal brand. A brand is not an advertisement - if you advertise a capability (like Chase) and do not deliver...then this damages your brand. Your 'brand' is about so much more than 'the promise' A personal brand is all about your results, how to achieve them, how to they are valued, and who values them etc etc (I call this IP3 - Intellectual, Principle, Practical and Physical). I can understand how reading so much of the material on personal branding that you (and Geoff) take this view that a personal brand is all about self promotion and marketing hype. I would urge you to take a broader view of developing a personal brand, and recognise that it includes the disciplines and practices of delivery. You already have a personal brand, when I hear your name, I now have a particular perception of 'your brand' - I can however understand if you chose not to 'promote' this brand...that is entirely up to you. Good food for thought and discussion though!

Louise: You are on the right track. A brand is a promise to the marketplace. Promising the marketplace a persona's value is great, but how does that help a company's products and services?

See, the problem comes in delineating the difference between infusing personality and conversation into the marketing as opposed to creating "rock stars" that don't serve the market... or the company's needs. And that is where Luke and others fail to understand that the marketplace dictates the needs... and the communication. Not persons trying to create brands for themselves.

After reading Geoff's article and your as well, this is what I get from it. The problem that you both face (and many others) is the fact that you believe personal branding is the selfless promotion of oneself. While that is partly true, it is also the effort of that individual to aggregate everything they have done and all there values into a package so to speak, to create a brand image around there name that they will hopefully be able to deliver on what promises they may make. There are a lot of people out there who do selflessly promote themselves to get their moments of fame in the blogosphere, but thats their brand and what they will be known for. Only by knowing yourself can you build a brand that attracts the people who need you most.

Now you both bring up the argument that the marketplace "dictates the needs," which is entirely correct. And for such needs to be fulfilled would you rather hire John Smith or a person who has promoted themselves to be able to solve and fix that specific problem. The branded person has by putting them self out there made a promise which hopefully they can deliver on, and if not, then their brand is tarnished.

Regardless of what you want to call it, reputation or personal brand, I believe that it is the new buzzword much like "entrepreneur" was years ago. In a time of uncertainty, people want to stand out and promote their skills and expertise, while companies want to save money and hire the right people.

Trace and Luke, thanks for your comments. I take your points, but I do think I understand the concept of personal branding, and - as I said - I think there are probably times, with the right client and the right coach - when it works as intended and does actually help communicate value. But the problem is that I think the concept is too open to misuse and misunderstanding.

I just want people focused on getting out there and doing stuff and less on packaging themselves. Those people who do both ... great! But they're not the majority IMO.

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