Other than social media, personal branding seems to be the hot topic in marketing at the moment.
But it seems that anyone with an Internet connection can develop their own personal brand by starting their own blog, building a LinkedIn profile, or gaining followers on Twitter.
So with all this personal branding clutter, how do you make yours stand out?
Stand out so much that people see it wherever you go, and associate it with you forever.
How about making the ultimate brand commitment and getting it tattooed into your skin?
I did. But it was well before we started talking about personal branding.
A personal brand history
When I was younger I was heavily into the basketball scene, and like most kids growing up in the early 90’s I was addicted to the NBA.
One finals series I was watching Stephon Marbury shoot free throws to win a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and I noticed that he had his family name “Marbury” tattooed across his right shoulder.
That stuck with me.
It is strange, but once you see someone who is committed to their heritage enough to get their own name tattooed into their skin, you never forget their name.
Consequently a few years later, shortly after turning 18 on the Macquarie University end of season rugby league trip, I decided it was time to get a tattoo.
And when you are going to get something that is going to stay with you for the rest of your days, you want something that is never going to change.
Like your family name.
So I got “Maloney” tattooed across my right shoulder.
Several years later, a great number of my close friends have done something similar.
Evolving brand meaning
I have no regrets about the tattoo. But without fail everyone who sees the tattoo cracks a joke about it, usually along the lines of:
“Is that so you don’t forget your name?”
Well, yes and no.
Yes. It acts as a constant personal reminder of where and who I have come from.
No. It’s not just for my recall. It is also so you don’t forget.
The personal branding lesson
As much as we like to think that branding has changed over the years, at the end of the day the goal of a brand is still the same as it always was on the ranch:
To make your cow look different to every other cow.
The name tattoo is a pretty literal interpretation of a personal brand, but it serves that objective. Now you know that I have “Maloney” tattooed on my arm, I bet you find it hard to forget.
In summary, yes I probably have taken personal branding too far!
I don’t do things by half.
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