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**This is a guest post by Ray Hiltz (@NewRayCom)**

I’m Not a Brand – I’m a Human Being!

I’ve been struggling with the issue of personal and professional image since I’ve struck out on my own as a consultant.

Branding my company as a business specializing in social media integration is fairly straightforward.  Branding me as a nice guy who likes books, musicals and poutines means what?

Until you get to know me, my name will leave you with little impression.

Once you get to know me though…!

A short while ago, whether or not to create a personal brand wouldn’t have been a question. I was all about giving advice on how to improve your personal brand by sharing such tips as:

  • Make sure you have your own domain name, i.e. yourname.com
  • Make sure that all of your social media profiles are completed, including LinkedIn
  • Clean up your trail of dead social media accounts so that they don’t show up in searches

All of these (and more) will help you get found.

When filling in your profiles…

How personal should you get?

Most self-employed people make a point of presenting as professional an image as possible.

This makes sense, right?

You want clients to have confidence in your expertise; and you want them to have a positive intuitive response when they see your logo or your come across your blog.

Branding is the manufacturing of image.

Hopefully, that image will be one that exudes trust.

So it makes sense to work at developing a brand for NewRayCom since I want people to feel connected to the principles I outline in my mission statement.

But should I “brand” me?  Should people be branded (in the marketing sense)?

What’s your Mom’s brand?

There’s something very artificial about creating a PR campaign around your personality.

You could argue that Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian  are brands and I’d agree. Their brands represent the fact that they’re pretty much an industry unto themselves that are represented by their personas rather than their personalities.

Brands shouldn’t be complicated. People can’t be anything but.

A blogger whom I admire, Olivier Blanchard, said in his post: R.I.P. Personal Branding,

You know what we used to call people with “personal brands” before the term was coined?

- Fakes.

Instead of working on a personal brand, he suggests that we …

1. Talk less, do more

2. Be relevant, not just popular

3. Reputation is more important than image

4. Speaking of image, find a good tailor

5. Just be yourself.

What do you think?

Can You Even Have a Personal Brand?

Ray Hiltz (@NewRayCom) is a business consultant and founder of NewRayCom, a social media consultancy that specializes in the integration of social media within organizations.

I would like to thank Ray for his great post! Please leave comments for Ray in the section bellow.