Recently I judged a brand personality competition for Newsweek/Daily Beast’s special issue on the top 100 Digital Brands, along with 4 other branding experts. Beyond my vote, the editor asked for an answer to a hot button question for people who are just launching their brands. That might be you.
Does the Internet need more self-promotion? On the whole, does it serve a collective good? Here’s what I had to say to Newsweek/DailyBeast.
What I know is that many of the best personal brands haven’t yet surfaced on the web. Sure, there’s branding stars among us today. However, much like a frontrunner shooting out at the head of the pack in a horserace, most early entrants who shot up to the top of the branding consciousness will soon fade as the distance demands unending endurance. Perhaps like smart gamblers, today’s big personal brands will take their winnings off the table, and move on to something else (perhaps a Fiji island or a venture capital firm).
Why? Personal brands require a lot of personal time. After all, these folks are expressing themselves by creating content, developing relationships and leveraging their audience. Personal brands require a demanding mix of continuity in perspective along with fresh, new material.
Today’s thought leader will be tomorrow’s Wikipedia reference. Just like Justin Bieber is today’s tween-idol Donny Osmond.
That is the huge difference between corporate brands like Coke, my alma mater, Apple and Disneyland, and personal brands like Perez Hilton, Evan Williams and Daniel Tosh. If it weren’t true, then Sean Connery would still be James Bond. Even Matt Damon can’t stay with the Bourne franchise. People outgrow their current interests, their audiences and the work they set out to do.
That leaves plenty of room for you, if you don’t stay hiding in plain sight.
Take a look at the Digital 100 categories and figure out what you want to be.
The best personal brands have yet to surface online. Be one.
Maybe next time, I’ll be nominating YOU.