Why Personal Branding Matters - Part 1

The word 'brand' no longer carries its old world charm. It is used often casually at the drop of a hat, as if it were a proposition in the long-winding sentence of our lives. However, we are not blaming anyone. Aren't we living in an over-marketed world, littered with brands seeping inside every fabric of our lives? If this sounds cynical and depressing, it simply means that, you have to wake up to the new reality we are living in. Wait, this reality is not about adjusting our fragmented lives in a commoditized world.
This is entirely different. This new reality is all about an invisible, yet powerful seismic shift that has occurred in the last decade. This paradigm shift has thrown to the winds, whatever we knew and read about Branding. Let us understand this paradigm shift using a simple metaphor. Let us go back to the days when we learnt about Astronomy in geography classes.
Astronomy 101
Let us rewind back to those days when we sat in little creaky chairs, with trepidation and awe, wearing those boxed 3-D glasses, to witness a simulated reality of the solar system. The panaromic image of the blazing sun at the centre of the Solar system, with the celestial objects orbiting around the Sun remains etched since our childhood memory. Not so long ago, brands occupied the centre of our lives. Our lives revolved around them. We were so enamored by their style, elegance and we would do almost anything to rub off the magic of brands in our mundane lives. It helped that brands were few and they often carried an aura of exclusiveness. Several successful brands which were built in the twentieth century were tall monoliths, revered like demi-gods, by faithful followers.
As the clich├ęd line goes, times change. Technology began to shake the foundations of these monoliths, as they razed down the artificial barriers to information. With information out in the open, brands could no longer afford to repose in ivory towers, disconnected from the users. They could no longer occupy the centre of the universe.
Who has taken their place? No prizes for guessing. It’s YOU. When TIME Magazine chose YOU as the Person of the year 2006, they weren’t simply flattering. They sensed clearly this dramatic power shift that has placed YOU as the centre of the Universe. What once was the Sun is now one among several dwarf planets, dying for your attention, ever-ready to pamper you with its offering. These are hard times for marketers and brand-managers. They know you have the power of technology at your side to change the destiny of his brand. You may wonder cockishly, So what? What does this mean to YOU?
Well, you are no longer are an cog in the industrial machine! YOU exist, not just physically, within the grasp of your bag of bones and flesh, but also virtually. Your virtual existence isn’t confined to the groups you belong to. You are omnipresent in this hyperlinked world. In such a world, anyone is just a few clicks away. Nothing is hidden from you and anyone. While this thought may be scary, it opens a vista of opportunities. You are respected and your voice is heard as long as it is sensible. With the power of networks, if your voice is strong enough, you can inspire a legion of followers. As Spider man says succinctly, great power comes with great responsibility.
End of Part 1: