Aug 20, 2010

Review: Personal Branding

Almost every Friday I review e-books I've either purchased or found for free around the internet. Each was read for a variety of reasons, and if I've found the information share-able, I'm doing so in this way.

This week, I'm reviewing Personal Branding, by Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle.

Of all the things I may be able to say I’m good at, marketing and branding do not appear on the list. I tend to forget these are even important, so I jump at any chance I get to read something on either subject.

I was especially pleased to read Colin’s free e-book Personal Branding, because it touched on the idea that you can be your own brand with every breath, action, and wardrobe choice. Add to my excitement the fact that Colin is a minimalist living with less than 100 things as he globe-trots for a living – this meant he’d get the whole “I want to have a good personal brand but don’t want to have all the stuff most people think goes along with that” mentality I’ve begun to espouse.

And no, it wasn’t all about fashion, although there was enough of that to get my wheels turning in positive directions. The key is to label yourself based on where you’re headed, not where you are. For me, that means owning my desire to be the forerunner in the minimalist knitter movement, and to present myself as such in my actions, words, deeds, and appearance.

He talks a lot about “physical collateral” – the stuff that I just said I didn’t want to have go along with personal branding – and how you can maximize your impact with a few key thoughts and pieces. Everything from the colors you choose for your blog to your business cards to having my own personal “Cheers!” spot in town resonated strong.

When it comes to building a social reputation, Colin tackles both online and in-person image in a way that I love – he tackles the basics {body odor, bad breath, basic cleanliness} first and foremost.

When it comes to wardrobe however, he falls into the trap most men fall into when talking women’s clothes – he goes the super-professional business route. I have no need for a suit in my life, and many of the items he lists involve a much more dressed-up lifestyle than most women I know.

This slight misstep aside, 90% of the information in the book was incredibly helpful. I walked away with a sheet of notes, full of ideas for how to kick my personal brand into high gear in the coming months.

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