I enjoyed this recent essay (rant?) about “personal brands.” The author generally rejects the idea of a personal brand, at least as something that walks and quacks like a traditional brand. Instead, he suggests that individuals focus on being honest with themselves and genuine with others.
I share the author’s disdain for corporate jargon around “building your personal brand” and agree with his basic advice. More interesting to me than deconstructing bogus self-help jargon is exploring why individuals that might have real brands (e.g., entertainers, sports figures, etc.) should take from the essay.
Plenty of celebrities do develop fictional brands. Even when those brands flow entirely from an invented character, and one that the audience understands and accepts to be fiction (e.g., Ed Grimley), celebrities struggle to isolate themselves or their private lives from their brand. Moreover, celebrities rarely succeed with developing multiple personal brands, and any damage to one of those brands affects all of them.
So the successful methods of InBev or Proctor & Gamble do not work when applied to “personal branding.”