You , Paris Hilton and the value of your Personal Brand

What do you , Paris Hilton , Jade Goody and the contestants on Celebrity Big Brother have in common? No, it’s not some sort of bizarre male fantasy, but the value of your personal brand. These are all people , who may or may not be talented, but have transformed themselves into household names.
Celebrity Big Brother Logo

Wait a minute you say – I’m a (delete as appropriate) :

  • Accountant, who thinks grey suits make people strangely attractive.
  • Banker , who plays the financial markets but only relates to people as costs on a balance sheet.
  • IT Geek and proud of it , even if I’ve nothing to do but blog on a Friday night.

What’s a personal brand got to do with me? I’m (thankfully) not about to release a fitness video or a perfume. That’s only for A, B or C list celebrities. Down here in the Z-List of Technology Blogging , you get draft Web 2.0 books , and you will enjoy them!

Maybe instead of brand , I said ‘reputation’ or ‘recommendations’ you would understand better – the notion that people know of your work , and are happy to employ you on that basis. Previously , this was by word of mouth. Now , with blogging , everybody can be a minor celebrity in their own niche. We’ve written about this before (‘are blogs the new CV‘), but with tools like LinkedIn, the trend is really taking off.

Two Irish people who understand the value of a ‘personal brand’ very well are David McWilliams and Sheila o’Flanagan. Both have taken what could be mundane jobs (Economist, Writing) and turned themselves into Stars. OK , Enterprise Technology is never going to have same mass market appeal, but just as David and Sheila are well known in our own little Irish pond, perhaps someday I could be the Jade Goody of the technology world.

Update:To show the power of blogging , when I did a search for David McWilliams site, despite his massive RTE exposure , it was Joe Drumgooles blog that came up first.

Update 2: In response to a question, the use of Paris Hilton in this blog post has nothing to do with Damiens infamous ‘how to use google to get a girl and get laid‘ blogpost. Nothing at all. It has nothing to do with Britney Spears either.


  1. Paul – the interesting thing that many people don’t realise is that we all have a brand already whether or not we are nurturing it.

    The term personal branding really started in 1997 with Tom Peters article in Fast Company, “A Brand Called You”.

    Now everyone seems to be jumping on the “personal brand wagon”- but as you point out, it’s about reputation and what we are known for – and that has been in existence since time began and man walked the earth!

    The key in personal branding is to ensure that we both strengthen and leverage our personal brand so that it reflects what we want to be known for.

    Our personal brand can help differentiate us from the seemingly similar competition in an increasingly challenging and global market place.

    Consider what are the three words that your clients and colleagues use to describe you. Are they consistent? Are they what you want them to be saying about you? Then put in place an action plan to build your brand and reputation to support you realising the professional and personal success you desire.

    And think about all the touchpoints – remember strong brands are consistent.

    And as for blogging and other social network tools, in fact if someone can’t find you when they Google your name, frankly you don’t exist. This is the case whether you are an individual in a corporation or a leading your own business so it’s becoming increasingly important to manage our personal brand offline and online.

    Interestingly did you notice that David’s site is built on a WordPress platform and his articles are blog posts.

  2. Krishna,

    On the strength of your writing / blogging , I expect to see on RTE sometime soon 🙂

    A thought just struck me while replying to your comment (and making sure I spelt your name correctly – apologies if I haven’t) – It also helps if you have a slightly unusual name (stands out on Google)!


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