Monday, July 10, 2006

Building Your Personal Brand: Blog, But Don't Forget Your Posse

In the spirit of outsourcing that has overtaken America, I realized recently that I had largely outsourced agenda setting for this blog to Ben Casnocha.

After fretting about this bit of intellectual laziness on my part, I concluded that I, like Warren Buffet, had simply realized where my talents and assets lay, and was making a wise and foresighted investment of my rhetorical capital in a younger and spryer asset manager.

Be that as it may, I found Ben's recent post on using blogging to control your personal brand intriguing enough to write a follow-up post. Ben writes:

I would prefer to be evaluated for who I am, not my associations. Writing a blog is a great way to route others' "perception formation" to my ideas and life. Here's a question: When someone Googles your name, is the first result a web page you own/control? If you're not near the top, other people's blog posts or press articles are dictating what someone reads about you.

The interesting tension here is that reputation and image are often more affected by what others think and say than by our own words.

For example, no matter how often I tell my wife that I'm "ruggedly handsome" and "rogueishly charming" a la Han Solo, the she'll admit is that I'm "friendly-looking" (panhandlers and solicitors seem to seek me out!) and "mischievous," a la Jar-Jar Binks.

You may protest that I'm self-deluded (although since many of you have never seen my handsome mug face to face, I'd argue that's an unfair judgment to make!), but that is my whole point: We tend to judge folks based on others' opinions, rather than their own statements.

This principle was expressed in a very pure form in the movie, "Never Been Kissed," in which Drew Barrymore plays a 25-year-old reporter who fails miserably at being popular until her ne'er-do-well brother tells her the secret: "All you need is one person who thinks you're cool."

Your blog can showcase your writing. It can let people understand your thought processes. It can even make you richer and improve your sex life. But as a personal branding tool, you'd be wise to also develop a posse that can credibly sing your praises.

Alas, Ben, I guess what I'm saying is that even in the blogosphere, the difference between heaven and hell is the company you keep. Not sure what your current set of complaints about the heat indicates....


Zoli Erdos said...

OK, Chris, you're handsome and charming :-))

Chris said...

Thanks Zoli, but less handsome and charming than you!

(That's the principle of reciprocity at work!)

Zoli Erdos said...

Oh, well, now all I need is someone like her to say this to me:-)