I like Carlos Gill. A lot. He’s smart. He’s got a helpful spirit. He’s doing good work to energize people around digital and social media. He’s quite knowledgeable about Snapchat and other emerging platforms. He’s also bi-lingual which means he’s smarter than me in two different languages.
But he posted something on Facebook last week that just got under my skin.
You can see my comment there. “So do neon yoga pants. You need more than just that.”
That quite nicely summarizes my beef with the personal brand advice peddlers. If that’s all they’re promoting, then they’re promoting the notion that people can just be good at promoting themselves. But why would anyone hire someone like that?
(To be clear, I don’t think Carlos doles out bad advice. But the lack of follow through on the post left me irritated.)
If I’m hiring an accountant, I need to know they can do whatever it is accountants do. The one with the neon yoga pants may get my attention, but if they can’t conduct an audit, don’t know best accounting practices or have trouble balancing a spreadsheet, I’m not hiring them.
“Personal branding” is a nice coat of paint. But if the foundation is rusty, full of termites or – in some cases it seems today – non-existent, then it only sets you up for failure.
My personal brand advice is that you should focus yours on what you bring to the table — what you can do to deliver business value for others. The additional ability to get and keep attention on you for that thing is a bonus. It’s not required. It’s not imperative. It’s not a deal-breaker.
Find me an employer who has hired someone completely on the merits of their personal brand and I’ll show you someone who regretted doing so very quickly.
Does this mean to ignore Carlos Gill and others like him who extol the benefits of having or building a personal brand? No. In fact, Carlos is a smart man who can give you good personal brand advice.
But if personal branding is all you’re focused on, then you’re selling a plastic egg. It’s colorful on the outside, but there’s nothing there when you open it up.