Is Personal Branding a “Slippery Slope” Towards Egomania?

Guy Kawasaki thinks so.

This video clip demonstrates the exact reason why I love Guy Kawasaki. He is direct, honest, and passionate. He says it how he sees it. This is why I read his books, follow him on Twitter, and include him in a circle on Google+. His ‘no-holds-barred’ commentary is what defines him. It is what makes him enchanting. Well, at least this is how I perceive him.

Personal Branding and Egoism

The foundation of a personal brand has less to do with what you think of yourself and more to do with how others perceive you. You may think of yourself as one way, but the people who make decisions about you may see you in a different way. William Arruda, author of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand (Wiley), and founder of Reach Personal Branding, says that your brand is held in the “hearts and minds of others.” How others see you is what differentiates you. It is what makes you compelling. If I suddenly saw Guy Kawasaki as reserved, modest, indirect and ‘wishy-washy,’ I would not find him compelling. Now, I would not see him as a bad person, but I certainly would not be compelled to buy his books or follow him on social media. In other words, he would not be delivering on his brand.

Guy talks about the feeling that you have “finally arrived.” Personal branding really is not about arriving, trying to become famous, or pumping up your ego. It is about being yourself and delivering on your unique promise of value. Guy Kawasaki could never have been the chief evangelist for Apple if he was not being authentic. His own brand attributes fed into his ability to use evangelistic methods to promote a computer brand and convert the masses to Apple. People were literally driven to act by his passionate belief in a product and company. Whether he planned it or not, this is one of the factors that has made him famous. I assume that his goal back in 1984 when he was at Apple was not to become famous. Even in his own books he states that the driving force behind evangelism marketing is the desire to make the world a better place. Sounds to me like Guy has a personal brand!

Incidentally Guy, you actually do look like, you know that Guy…Kawasaki.  Keep up the great work and continue enchanting others.

Do you agree with Guy?  Do you think personal branding leads to egomania?

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About the author

Peter Sterlacci Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer.” In a country where fitting-in is the norm, Peter’s mission is to pioneer a ‘cultural shift’ by helping Japanese to stand out in a global environment. An avid cyclist, he combines cycling imagery with personal branding strategy to empower his clients to shift gears and sprint to career success. Follow Peter on Google+