“You” As A Digital Brand

Beyond Personal Branding

Mar 23, 2011 by

Recently I was re organizing my home office. Er .. ok, I was moving piles of papers to make my desk seem less cluttered. I came across an article that someone had sent me in 1997.. don’t even ask Girlfriend!

I don’t remember who sent it to but I saved it because at the time the concept intrigued me. It was Tom Peter’s The Brand Called You which you can find at Fast Company online. As the fates, would have it soon after reading it I was “right-sized” or “down-sized” or whatever the politically correct term was at the time. I was fired from my  job with the Georgia Lottery Company.

Peter’s idea that a company would want to hire “more than a resume” was radical 14 years ago. He talked about managing our personal brand. What did that even mean? I had not a clue.  Should I be wearing Jimmy Choos instead of Gucci? Maybe it meant investing in a Mont Blanc instead of Bic pens? Did that extend to non business aspects of my life too?  In one of my first resumes I included creative cooking. I was told it wasn’t professional and took it out.  Should I add it back in? Was that part of my brand called Toby?

As confusing as it was to navigate this new way of presenting myself back in the day, it no way comes close to the complexities that the Internet and social networks present in 2011 and beyond. We no longer have the luxury of only building our image based on just a paper resume and a handshake.  In the pre interview process Google has become HR’s best friend.

However, like it or not, your professional personal brand game is only one part of your digital resume. Your personal friend-to-friend-to-neighbor-to-relative-to-new boyfriend brand game is now just as important and perhaps even more critical.  I’ve lived in the virtual world since my blog Diva Marketing was launched in 2004. I can honestly say that offering selected pieces of myself in this brave new world brought me amazing  joy, opportunities and real friendships with people across the world and down the street.

So I toss this back to you Gfs. What does Personal Branding in the 21st century mean when the whole world knows not only your name but your favorite wine, movies, relationship status and opinions about life? How does privacy fold into the mix?

Photo credit: Personal Branding Blog

About the Author

Toby Bloomberg Has Written 30 Articles For Us!

Toby is Founder/President of Atlanta-based strategy and social media consultancy, Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing and acknowledged by Forbes as one of the country’s most foremost bloggers. She is a widely recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values (strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc.) while maintaining the authenticity of digital conversations. Toby recently wrote the first business book based on (40) Twitter interviews with marketing pros. Social Media Marketing GPS has been downloaded over 10,000 times by people all the world.
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  1. Rebecca Crichton

    Ineresting dialogue. I think I still struggle with a combination of what is private and what isn’t and an older story, probably from my family, about not wanting people to know ‘my business.’ And of course, we now realize that the more people know us, the more they are likely to want to do business with us. I agree with Serena’s comments about how we share different parts of ourselves with the different people in our lives depending on what our connections are with them. And I also agree we are getting to know each other through this new medium and it feels more exciting than scary although I still don’t totally ‘get’ the facebook thing! But I’m open to learning and you’re all helping me. Rebecca

    • I agree with what you’re all saying and I have to add that sometimes it’s all so overwhelming. But on the personal brand issue I have started to get really self-conscious that I’m doing “too much” but it’s not related to privacy really.

      I;m thinking it’s because on some level I’m much more of an introvert and I go through this tug of war, wanting not to blog, to express …and pull back inward. Maybe it’s because winter was so long?? Who knows. I would rather be on the inspirational side but sometimes it’s just “not there”. Do any of you all go through this?

      On the other hand, I’m inspired by what I read, by participating, by belonging and by connecting to great women like all of you here on atsGF.

      I find the process of blogging and writing and all to be solitary and lately I really want to bust out and “get on the road” to meet all of you.

      So, back to the personal brand I find that whatever I express via social media, would be something that I would be OK with saying in public…so that I’m consistent with how I express on-line and off-line.

      BTW, I love that Tom Peters book and am reading it too!

  2. You As A Digital Brand by Toby Bloomberg (via All the Single Girlfriends): "What does Personal Branding in the… http://fb.me/Wt9Kgf72
    Note: Following is Sunny’s post from atsGf’s Facebook page. Thought it made sense to share her views here as well.

    People already know I’m in marketing so much so that, even if I’m vague about some stuff, people can immediately guess what I’m doing. Allowing some people the chance to know and see some snippets of my private life gives more dimension to my personality. People begin to realize I’m not really this boring marketing android my professional self represents.

    To my clients, this is quite important because it enables them to know more about me through the stuff I allow my friends to know. It helps our business relationship when they have a fairly good grasp of how I think outside of the marketing world.

    • Sunny –

      You are far from boring! I’m find the opportunity to bring in more personal elements of who we are frequently leads to more satisfying and longer term relationships. After all is said and all things being equal (more or less), people like to do business with people they know and like.

  3. I think that you can regulate just how private or public you want to be online. While many people know alot about me through my blog and the articles I write for All the Single Girlfriends, there are still things that I simply don’t share. I will always write from my own truth because my readers deserve that, but there are parts of me that I reserve for my close friends and family. I think it’s a healthy, and necessary, balance to living with one foot in the virtual world! – SerenaK

    • Serena – Perhaps it’s not living with “one foot” in the digital world but more like realizing that you can different aspects of who you are with different people. I agree, one can still be true to one’s self and remain ‘safe’ and comfortable in the digital world.

      • Good point, Toby. We all do the same thing in person – showing different sides of our personality, depending on who we are with. I’m realizing that I share slightly different things on my own blog, versus what I write for All the Single Girlfriends. It has opened up another side of me…the Single Girlfriend….that I had been hesitant to fully let out. Thank you, Toby, for bringing us all together in this fun and fabulous online community! – SerenaK

        • Serena – All The Single Girlfriends is doing the same for me. Thank you and the amazing community we are creating. We’re barely 2-months old and it’s been an incredible adventure!

  4. RT @marianne “You” As A Digital Brand http://bit.ly/fRsIRK gr8 post by @TobyDiva..Is there still a private you AND a public you? #atsgf [TY!

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