I had a discussion with a friend late last night. He is an old roommate and is now in Japan doing his last semester of law school. While he is a regular reader of my blog, he actually finds personal branding very hard to understand. I’m still trying to determine whether that’s a factor of being a lawyer or perhaps that the definitions of personal branding are confusing. He wrote to me:

“I guess I am one of those guys who doesn’t have a full grasp of the personal branding concept…. but it’s becoming so mainstream… is it something they might start teaching in schools or is it something which is inherently tied to stuff like social networking?”

It’s a great question. How do you define it? How would you teach it? And, is this something we will begin to see in universities?

Defining personal branding

My friend brings up a very good point. What is personal branding? After all, just looking at the Personal Branding Blog, you will get a wealth of tips and perspectives from people who all see personal branding a bit different than the next person. At the end of the day, I think Dan Schawbel’s tag line for the blog is actually quite fitting, “Navigating YOU to future success!”. If you think about it, personal branding is all about how to be more successful using the tool, YOU.

This blog will discuss how to be more successful through your image, through your communications, through the way you work, or through the way you influence. No matter what we discuss here, we are all focusing one singular goal; helping make you more successful.

Personal branding in the classroom?

Will we ever see a personal branding course taught in university?

What would a personal branding course teach exactly? Would it be a communications course? There are already thousands of those.

At the end of the day, it is in the universities’ best interests for students to personally brand themselves; it makes them look good. But, if personal branding is essentially about navigating you to success, then I’d make the case that universities already do this today. They do it by giving students solid backgrounds, educations, and a degree to help navigate their students to success. That is why I would see difficulty in creating a class on personal success.

However, universities are still not doing enough to help their students personally brand themselves. I don’t think a personal branding course would be the answer, because I think it’s something that needs to be baked in a university’s overall strategy. It should be a mantra they preach on a daily basis. How can we ensure our students come out of here with the competitive advantage they need to succeed in the market?