Header photo by Hamish Grant. Used with permission.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thinking About Personal Branding? I am.

Personal branding has been on my mind lately. 

Some think it's important.  Others do not.  Some people are invigorated by the idea.  Other are terrified.

I'm attending "Personal Brand Camp II" and "Third Tuesday Toronto" tomorrow, which will focus on the notion of personal branding, especially as it pertains to public relations.  At Personal Brand Camp, various PR practitioners will lead conversations (which you can follow on ScribbleLive and Twitter at #pbCamp2) and try to answer some top questions about personal brand, including:
I'll let you know what I come up with.

Pizza Friday is a part of my personal brand.  In my blog introduction, I proposed some themes that Pizza Friday would take - community, connectedness, creativity, collaboration - as a reflection of things that I think are important in building my personal brand.

I would love to know what you think ... especially those of you who know me personally:
  • How would you describe my personal brand?
  • If I were a product or company, what would you associate with it (me)?
  • Based on what you've read in this blog, am I getting it right?  
  • Are there elements of "me" that you don't see but want to?  Elements that you do see but don't think are accurate?
Please comment and let me know!

Update: There were some excellent, thoughtful comments made. Please check them out, because they add a lot of value to the conversation about personal branding.  And of course, please feel free to chime in yourself.


  1. I think it's a pretty broad brand. That's not a bad thing - a lot of corporate brands are too, like Deloitte or Rogers maybe? How can you focus your brand while still encorporating various interests and aspects of your personality? What about guitar? Canoeing? Environmentalism? Rugby? All of those elements include Pizza Friday ideas, but allow you to include more personal elements of who you are.

  2. Dear Zack,

    If you were a product or company, I would definitely associate that company with all of the C's you have mentioned. Also with a zest for life; with finding the beauty in the world around you; with pointing out opportunities and inspiring change. Your company makes me want to be a better person.

    I think you're getting it right, but I want to see more. Maybe instead of 1.9 posts a week (for real - ask Google reader!), do about seven. Or twenty. I want at least four posts about community, connectedness, creativity and collaboration PER DAY...

    ...and I'm only partly joking.

    Also, I like Anonymous' comments above. Get personal, Zack. Then your readers will totally feel CONNECTED.

    Or just keep doing what you're doing. You're pretty great.



  3. Zack, I think you're on the right track! I really like your tagline of "Community. Connectedness. Creativity. Collaboration.

    Connectedness and collaboration really stand out to me in your personality--after all, you organized our wonderful Google Docs spreadsheets, along with Wacky Wednesday events, so one of your strengths appears to be the ability to bring classmates together, which is very important.

    I think personal branding is an extremely useful tool that will set you apart from peers and competition in the industry. If you can market yourself as a social media savvy guy who is into collaboration and community, I would hire you over someone who simply has a university degree but isn't promoting themselves.

    Based on what I've read and learned so far about personal branding, my only other suggestion would be to perhaps narrow down what type of organizations or companies you'd like to work for, and create a solid statement using your key words from your tagline to target a specific audience.

  4. Anonymous - Thanks so much. I've been wondering about making my brand more personal. You're right in pointing out a number of my hobbies and interests as potential areas to build on. I recently read that employers like a little taste of who you are outside the catchy action words on your resume. The personal brand offers an excellent opportunity for me to engage with those elements of my personality.

    JB - You flatter me. Thank you. Those are some of the things that I aspire to - being zesty (especially for life); finding beauty around me; and inspiring others to seek a better world. I'm humbled to think that my brand had the potential of having that effect. Your point about post frequency is well-taken. I will strive to post more. My goal is short, frequent posts that allow my passions to shine through. Thank you for helping me focus.

    Jenna - First of all, I really enjoyed what you had to say about personal brand in your latest blog post http://bit.ly/dpj2mM. Your strategies for identifying, summarizing and projecting one's personal brand are invaluable. I appreciate your comment about integrating my career goals with my personal brand. Such a simple, yet critical point. It's right on track though: if I go through all the trouble of cultivating and maintaining a personal brand in order to help get a job, then certainly I should make a point of highlighting just WHAT that job might look like! Thank you for sharing your insights.