Personal Branding: It’s not a fad, so get used to it as it’s here to stay!

Paul Segreto
8 min readJan 30, 2023

This morning I was reviewing my article from a few days ago, Personal Branding and the Power of YOU! and immediately thought about how personal branding is snubbed by many as a fad, nothing more than a buzz-phrase. I’ve even heard people say it was unnecessary and a waste of time.

Truly, it all annoys me quite a bit. I believe their thoughts are driven by fear — fear of the unknown, no different than originally expressed thoughts about social media or of anything “new” that is introduced into the marketplace. I’m sure there were naysayers when the telephone was introduced into businesses way back when. I wonder how many thought the phone was unnecessary, a waste of time, an annoyance, and eventually something that would become a product along the lines of here today and gone tomorrow.

As many that know me will attest, I’m one to always look back and ask myself if I was on the right track and if I’m staying the course with my perspective.

Yesterday was one of those days as I saw a post that popped up in my Facebook Memories. I smiled as it affirmed that I was spot-on about personal branding and especially as it’s become a recommended foundational component of franchise development per discussions at a recent franchise sales conference. As well, it affirmed I’ve stayed true to my perspective.

My Facebook post was from January 29, 2013: I was asked again today, “What was the basis of developing Personal Branding for Franchise Professionals?” My answer is always, “To assist all who work in franchising to develop personal branding strategies to align individual experience and expertise with brand and business development.”

The following, which I shared in May 2022, explains even more about my perspective about personal branding and a walk down memory lane about how I came to be so passionate about it then, and still today.

Personal Branding: It’s More Than a Buzz Phrase!

Wikipedia defines personal branding as the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.

The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness, building a reputation on the things you want to be known for, and then allowing yourself to be known for them. Ultimately, the goal is to create something that conveys a message and that can be monetized.

Whether it was described as we know it today or not, personal branding has been around for many years. Personal branding essentially showcases an individual’s image to the target audiences they’re trying to attract. From kings to world leaders to politicians to movie stars, each developed a personal brand that became the “packaging” of their own persona.

For instance, Babe Ruth. Besides being a world-class baseball player, The Babe, as he was affectionately known was loved as an everyday type of guy, a friend at the local gin mill or a pal at work. He loved to drink and eat, but he was a professional athlete despite being significantly overweight.

He loved kids and was often seen talking with them. He visited with sick children in hospitals, made bold promises, and lived up to them. He was larger than life. Books were written about him. Movies were made and even a candy bar was named after him. The Babe certainly had; most likely unknowingly developed a personal brand.

Of course, not many will see their personal brand identified as a nickname, or of a term of endearment like Babe Ruth or other ballplayers of yesteryear — The Mick (Mickey Mantle), The Splendid Splinter (Ted Williams), Say Hey Kid (Willie Mays), Hammerin’ Hank (Hank Aaron), just a few that immediately come to mind. They were heroes of the day. I can’t even begin to imagine what their personal brands would be like today in the Digital Age!

Okay, I know. Not everyone reading this today knows about these individuals. I’d like to think I’m not that old that many might not even recognize their names. But that’s a story for another day. So, let’s shift gears. Do you recognize the name, Gary Vaynerchuk, or as he is often referred to, Gary Vee?

To me, Gary Vaynerchuk epitomizes personal branding today. From his sometime harsh language to his extremely casual appearance, he is definitely not the picture of what many would perceive to be a businessman and certainly not a successful one. Yet, he’s one of the most successful businesspeople of our time! Why? I’d say to a large extent, it’s due to the way he developed his personal brand.

Of course, he is brilliant. But it’s his personal brand that has taken his brilliance to the level that he is very well known, is in high demand for speaking engagements, and is all over the digital space. From his podcasts and videos to his own blogs to articles written about him, it’s hard not to know, or at least be aware of Gary Vaynerchuk.

It was Gary Vaynerchuk who first introduced me to personal branding when I read his book, Crush It! To me, it’s the primer for everything that should come after it, much the same as our first-grade reader was back in elementary school. So, as we focus on personal branding this week at Acceler8Success Cafe, we’ll start with Gary Vaynerchuk’s great book. It’ll be our foundation as we take a deep dive into personal branding.

I’ve recently re-read for the umpteenth time this fascinating book. He has posted, tweeted, and videoed himself, and his business, to unbelievable success in a very short period of time. The book is a relatively short read, so there should be no excuses for not reading it asap, as it can only help you improve yourself and your business, and your personal brand. The following is directly from one of the tabs from the book’s original website. Upon reading the book, I’m sure you’ll further explore Crush It! just as I do quite often.

Everything has changed. The social media revolution has irreversibly changed the way we live our lives and conduct our business. There are billions of dollars in advertising moving online, waiting to be claimed by whoever can build the best content and communities. Despite this change, most people keep working at jobs that don’t make them happy and businesses continue to ignore the major marketing and public relations benefits that can be found online.

Myth #1

I’m not passionate about something sexy or popular like wine so these lessons don’t apply to me.

The internet has drastically decreased the costs of building communities around niche subjects, allowing for even the most obscure subjects to draw enough eyeballs to command advertising attention. Starting a video blog about tortilla chips may seem farfetched until Doritos gives you a call and offers $40,000 a year to sponsor and advertise on your blog.

Myth #2

My business already has a Twitter account and a Facebook page, we’re set in the social media department.

This is the equivalent of claiming twenty years ago that just because your business bought a TV spot and a few ads in the newspaper, you didn’t need to pay attention to your advertising department. Social media isn’t about joining in, it’s about being involved.

Myth #3

I’m happy at my job so this book is irrelevant to me.

First of all, congratulations on finding work that makes you happy! However, the lessons in this book are valuable to anyone, regardless of their employment status. Crush It will show you how to utilize high level and platform specific social media and marketing strategies that will improve your work. It will also show you how to build a personal brand so that even if you’re forced to leave your job, a situation that’s especially relevant today, you’ll be able to easily find employment elsewhere in a field you’re passionate about.

Myth #4

I need to quit my job to take advantage of this book’s entrepreneurial lessons.

While the entrepreneurial strategies in this book do take time, it’s completely reasonable to start the effort as an after-work project to build up until you’re able to replace your current income with the income from your online presence. While you may have to fall behind on the current season of Lost or let your Madden 2010 game suffer, because you’ll be doing something you love you won’t mind putting in the extra effort.

In Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk shows how anyone can build a career around what they’re passionate about. He also delivers both high-level and platform specific strategy and analysis, allowing you to take advantage of the current business environment while preparing you to succeed as it changes and evolves.

This book isn’t interested in making unrealistic promises while glossing over the work involved. Making a living by building content around your passion isn’t simple and it doesn’t happen overnight. What it is, however, is fulfilling and in most cases just as profitable, if not more so, than your previous job.

Furthermore, a business can’t just pay lip service to social media and expect it to return results. The transparency and accountability inherent in its structure necessitates a comprehensive and dedicated strategy in order to reap its tremendous benefits.

By combining practical analysis and strategy with the same passion and humor that’s made Gary one of the most in demand keynote speakers in the U.S. as well as network television’s go to wine expert, Crush It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and harness the future of business and work.

Learn: Why social media has evened the playing field, destroying the “gate-keepers” who had previously dictated the distribution of content.

Learn: How to beat unemployment and create wealth-building opportunities by building and maintaining a personal brand.

Learn: Why storytelling is the most important business concept in the current marketplace.

Learn: How you can build an online business around your passion without quitting your day job.

Learn: Why Twitter and Facebook are just tools and not a social media strategy.

Learn: How to take advantage of the half-billion dollars in advertising that are moving to the internet

Learn: Why transparency and being true to yourself are now winning marketing formulas

Learn: How to build and maintain an online community around your passion and brand

Learn: Strategies for turning attention into money

Learn: Why the legacy element of the internet era is so underrated

Need some Personal Branding guidance, please reach out to me on LinkedIn or via email to paul@acceler8success.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

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Paul Segreto

Franchises & Restaurants | Management & Development Consulting | Entrepreneurship Coaching | Visionary Thought Leader | CEO & Founder