• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • The Top 5 Personal Branding Myths

    1) I don’t have a personal brand False

    This statement always annoys me, yet people continue to ask it again and again and again. The second you were born, you were branded. Maybe even before you were born! The way chromosomes work is that you will share qualities from both your mother and father, therefore their personal brands co-develop yours. Before you even come out of the womb, your parents are already branding you (in hopes that you are a girl or boy or that you resemble one of them). As you travel through the human life cycle, your brand will inadvertently evolve and mature, yet some of your qualities and perceptions will remain the same.

    Today, we finally put an end to this question and the answer is yes, we all have a personal brand because we are being judged constantly. We are given the precious opportunity to change personal perceptions by leading with our own personal brands. Even animals have personal brands. If your dog barks all the time, your neighbors might label him as obnoxious. Typically people name their pets based on how they act. Before I start to rant anymore, I’d like to finish by saying that personal branding is a state-of-mind. The more you come to the realization that you’re a brand, the more you will be conscious as to how you portray yourself.

    2) Personal branding is all about you False

    I’ve covered this one before and I still believe that you need to make other people successful first or solve their problems. Personal branding is about serving others and as a result, your sphere of influence and visibility increases. The more you help others, the more you will receive, either directly or indirectly. Selfishness and too much self-promotion punishes your audience. Of course you have to promote yourself, just don’t go overboard. Each success you have while building your personal brand is the result of others endorsing you. People have just as much, if not more, control over the achievement of your personal brand as you have.

    This can only mean that you need to pay attention to others and I don’t mean EVERYBODY. You need to surround yourself with the right people(customers and colleagues). Then deliver quality and service and make them look good. That is how you win!

    3) Personal branding is image management False

    Let’s quickly define both. Image management is how to shape perceptions by changing who you are on the outside. In this way, you are deceiving, while pleasing others. Personal branding is how we market ourselves to others by revealing who we are on the inside. In today’s world, tricking people doesn’t work in the long-term. You’ve seen relationships deteriorate based on genuineness when people reveal their true motives and brand later. Personal branding is about the “Real YOU Incorporated.” If you even try and be fake, someone will catch you, blog about you and reveal the real you to everyone else. If you start by laying everything out on the table, you will save yourself any backlash later.

    At the same time, even though conformity is bad for our culture, I still believe we have to be “smart” in certain situations. There are cultural norms, such as (and I’m exaggerating here) not eating with your hands at the dinner table or not screaming out when someone is making a presentation to you. Basically, good situational judgment is necessary and applauded in our society. At the same time, if we completely conform, we risk losing our creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s up to you what face you want to show to the world, but I do recommend you show the natural one.

    4) Personal branding is all about getting a job False

    Most people automatically view personal branding as a path to getting a job. This is true only if it was your only objective. This is NOT a good idea everyone. Building your brand takes a lot of time, energy, sacrifice, money and determination. People have 8-12 jobs in their lifetime, so by the time your goal is met, you’ll be looking to do it again. I’m not saying having this type of goal is bad, but you really need to have a vision. Personal branding is not even just about career development, even though it gets positioned in the “self-help” and “marketing” sections of Amazon. Personal branding takes into account your professional and person lives.

    To get a job or build a career is certainly a giant piece of the personal branding methodology, but empowerment, confidence and networking are other benefits. Also, as I refer everyone to from time to time, the Octopus Model of Relevancy will show you all the topics related to personal branding.

    5) Not everyone can be successful False

    I’ve spoken about this topic as well. The real definition of success needs to be “success = monetize your passion” or, translated, it means that you are compensated based on what you are passionate about. This doesn’t mean it has to be millions of dollars. See if Forbes and Fortune magazine promote having millions of dollars as being successful they limit the population down to a select few. When we talk about personal branding, it’s much better to leave the definition open so the majority can be successful or feel successful.

    When your passionate about your job, it’s not a job anymore. It becomes a “paid” hobby, just like golf or video games. Tiger Woods loves his job and is compensated more indirectly (endorsements) rather than for each of his big wins. 90% of people take jobs that they don’t enjoy to pay the bills. They rush into career paths because they are told to do so. It’s time to do what you want to do!


    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding
    Promote Yourself Newsletter
    Sign Up & Download For Free:
    10 Personal Branding Secrets You've Never Heard Before
    14 comments on “The Top 5 Personal Branding Myths
    1. avatar
      stetoscope says:

      Hi Dan,
      Is your post an intro to a training session ? It is always good to remind the basics.
      Thanks for this reminder.

    2. avatar
      Lance Haun says:

      I think one of the biggest things I always try to remember is that you are ALWAYS building your personal brand. Whether you think you are or aren’t isn’t that important. By not taking an active role in building your personal brand, you are giving control to others to define your brand.


    3. avatar

      This is a fantastic post. I think that some people see personal branding as what you do when you want to be seen out on the town partying up so you can be seen on TMZ. Whether you are simply a cog in the wheel at a job or you’re leading the next big social movement, personal branding is, as you say, about revealing yourself. I’ve been writing recently about the value of social media and there too, I see having an understanding of your brand as being essential before you start making posts and certainly before you respond to any negatives you may encounter on the Internet. If you know your brand contains compassion towards others, your posts had better show that, especially in the face of a hater.

      Thanks for the great article.

    4. avatar
      Justin Levy says:

      This was a great post on personal branding. I must say though, the part that I liked the best was the part about animals having a personal brand. We have a nickname for our dog: dumb-dumb….you can figure out why we gave her that type of branding 🙂


    5. avatar
      Desiree says:

      I am a certified personal branding strategist and also do impression management. I disagree with you saying impression management is a false way of representing yourself. It is a continuation of branding yourself and knowing your inner self and reflecting that outwardly. People are not born with style and etiquette and communication skills and such, and they need to learn or refine these points to their authentic brand with their external image to align with their inner brand. You give a misconception of impression management as people have the misconception that branding is just a logo or tag line.

    6. avatar
      Katie says:

      This is really a great topic. I’m a kind of looking forward for some changing in my career. I’ve always been conscious about personal image for relationship in any life aspects. Your 5 myths have waken me up though. Thanks a lot

    7. avatar

      Thanks for the article. I would be able to explain it clearly to my peers who mostly think all the above are true.

    8. avatar
      Zadling says:

      Great article. I loved the ending. I also define success as monetizing a passion. It’s unfortunate that so many people get stuck into taking a job they hate just to pay the bills. Thanks for being such a great resource. I’m going to be pretty busy going through every article listed in your About section.

    9. avatar
      Cheryl says:

      I second the “great article” compliment! It is pure motivation! It is you saying to me “I believe in you Cheryl!” Thanks! Now I have to continue reading and begin to discover my Passion!

    10. avatar

      I’ve stumbled across “personal branding online” as a secondary issue as I am in the process of changing career direction – from IT to marketing. I used to run graduate training and development for IT companies as a sideline to main IT role. In the days of Me 1.0 so no access to some of these tools and technques – would have been mighty helpful!

    11. avatar
      Flo Njau says:

      Great article! well said! I think that most often people get caught up in the surface ‘PR’ and forget that character is what determines how long they can put up the image. A well rounded person – both in public and privately will definitely build a trusted personal brand that is sincere and can last beyond a glance.

    12. avatar

      Thank you for this website. Reinventing myself at age 50 and I will use the self-branding wisdom on your website going forward. My passions are creating something out of nothing and teaching and gardening. Can’t wait to see what the next 50 years holds.
      Continued Success, Dana Hayden, M.Ed.

    13. avatar
      Nedu says:

      Awesome post.I so much love the fact that the article made mention of passion as the only tool every individual has at his/her disposal to have a very successful living.The more we are passionate about sharing our gifts and abilities,the more we are been empowered financially.

    14. avatar
      Diana Bishop says:

      Hello Dan, I could not agree more. As a matter of fact, I make a similar point in my own blog, “Date to be Exposed for the Success You Really Are’. Take a look and let me know what you think. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.


    6 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Top 5 Personal Branding Myths"
    1. […] already gone over the top 5 personal branding myths and feel that some people just have a lack of understanding on this topic, and are afraid of it, so […]

    2. […] already gone over the top 5 personal branding myths and feel that some people just have a lack of understanding on this topic, and are afraid of it, so […]

    3. […] If you haven’t heard of personal branding and its importance in today’s marketplace, you need to start here. If you have heard of it, but don’t think it applies to you, then start here. […]

    4. […] horse, but I feel as though I must speak my piece. Don’t worry. I don’t plan on telling you the top 5 personal branding myths. I don’t plan on telling you why you should start a blog to build your brand. Neither do I plan […]

    5. […] argues in a different post that everyone can be successful. And, when you do what you’re passionate about, you can […]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    Content Partners
    As Seen In