Yes, I know. We normally ask for people, places and things to turn us on, ignite our creativity, spark our inner muse. But good friend of Red Slice and Guru of New Sarah Browne just unplugged and regained some sanity on her recent trip to Alaska. I loved what she had to say in this interview at The Big Turn Off and how she views the whole world of social media as a branding mechanism. As a branding strategist, I 100% concur with her opinions: just because you can brand doesn’t mean you should.
I’m especially torn about the whole personal branding movement we’re experiencing. From Gary Vaynerchuk’s call to arms for following your passion and monetizing it to smaller players in a niche space, millions are flocking to their own platform. Part of me loves the freedom of self-expression that we are experiencing. As an actress, I’m all about telling stories and not letting old fuddy-duddy gatekeepers, networks or publishers prevent someone with an important message from getting it heard in the world (and especially when said-gatekeepers give wretched people like The Real Housewives and the cast of The Hills a voice). I love the niche interest sites, the recipe blogs, the wine sites, the inspirational communities that have been birthed in recent years.
With any freedom, there is a quality-control price to be paid. People out there claiming to be experts who will “gladly share their secrets of success with you if you become a member, pay $5000 and attend my boondoggle conference in the desert every spring.” Exploitation comes in many forms and while there are those out there offering true value, many others are the digital age’s new used car salesmen or snake oil peddlers. Just because I can self-publish a guide at Kinko’s and spin it out via social media to the masses does not mean it’s high value or useful to anyone.
I’ve been skeptical now for a while of anyone whose personal brand comes off” infomercially.” If I see a web page with lots of exclamation points, testimonials, different size fonts, random use of color, and lots of words in BOLD, I tend to put my guard up. Again, some of this is very useful information to be shared and enjoyed but…..how can we tell the good from the bad? I don’t necessarily believe all content should be free either (that is for another blog rant). After all, someone has worked hard to research, filter and write useful content and I believe it’s not our God-given right to get everything in this world for free. But it’s a blurry line, isn’t it?
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about personal branding in the digital age? Are things getting our of hand? Do you need a break> Any platforms or gurus out there you really like who are bringing good stuff to the party? Share in the comments.