The idea of having a personal brand is quite modern. It could be argued that it represents an unsettling willingness for people to go to any length to make money. Not content with simply running a business and working hard until it does well, lots of people are selling themselves as the product. It can certainly be an effective business plan, as someone like Kim Kardashian demonstrates, but it could be quite problematic because what a personal brand actually sells is not a person. It is an attempt to monetize the simulacra of a person. This is dangerous because for it to work properly, the personal brand has to be meticulously curated. Every aspect of the person’s life becomes subject to a financial consideration because some decisions would be more profitable than others.
Besides, there are lots of things that are no longer possible because they may ruin the image or identity that has taken so long to cultivate. Being yourself in public is therefore not as easy since the people who pay attention you will have come to expect certain, behaviours, attitudes and styles. Failure to continue to demonstrate these self-imposed qualities will result in the personal brand suffering. The American novelist John Updike famously remarked that ‘celebrity is a mask that eats into the face’. He meant that it becomes difficult to distinguish between the mask (everyone else’s perception of you) and your face (your real identity). Everything becomes a performance, and nothing is genuine any longer. If this is something that does not concern you and you still want to curate a profitable representation of yourself, here are some ways of doing it:
- The first thing that you need to work out is what it is you’ll be known for. Some figures in contemporary popular culture are condemned for being famous simply because they are famous. It is asserted that they have no skill or attribute that would justify their fame. However, having something is a good thing, whether it is singing, writing, or helping people run their own business.
- You then need to find a platform to demonstrate why your personal brand is worth spending time and money on. Starting your own blog and updating it with fun, informative, and interesting content is a good first step. http://www.media-gypsy.com is a good example of how to do this. Social media is another crucial aspect of gaining followers. Facebook has an estimated 1.9 billion unique monthly users, so that is a good place to start, as are Twitter and Instagram. Having a social media presence is the easiest way to reach lots of people quickly without spending a lot of money.
- The last step is the most difficult: actually making money from your personal brand. One way that a lot of people do this is by incorporating advertisements into their social media posts. So-called influencers are leading the way in new marketing strategies. By working with brands who want to reach certain demographics, they are able to charge thousands of dollars for Instagram posts which feature certain products.