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The knowing-doing gap

When Tom Peters started the Brand You revolution in a Fast Company article in 1997, there was a lot of interest and curiosity. Lot of people were curious, but only a few people started investing in their personal brands. That was in 1997.

Today, it seems like people know all about personal branding and the need for it. However, it does not seem like there is a lot of people who are succeeding in creating powerful personal brands. There is clearly a “Knowing-Doing” Gap.

The effort involved in the “ideation” of Personal Branding is very little compared to the effort involved in executing on the personal branding project. Simply said, the price to pay for building a personal brand is high and few people are willing to pay it in advance.

On the other end, there are people who are interested in taking “shortcuts to glory” to build a personal brand in a hurry.

Case in point: Blogging, Podcasting and Social networks provide tools to become MORE visible at a lower cost. Participating here alone won’t guarantee a powerful personal brand, but most people think otherwise. I think the pendulum has swung a bit far on the other side. There is talk about personal branding everywhere to the tune that there is now “Personal Branding Noise” being generated on the web.

What has been conveniently forgotten is that for a personal brand to flourish, the marketplace needs proof. Proof comes in the form of accomplishments and thought leadership to begin with.

The wrong way to TRY to build a personal brand is to try to build it on a weak proof.

The better way is to work on accumulating proof in the form of accomplishments and thought leadership to start with.


For one, it just costs more to build a personal brand on the foundation of weak accomplishments (if at all you can build one).

Simply stated, the Web, blogs and social networks have lowered the bar to claim your expertise. However, the marketplace has NOT lowered the standards to recognize that expertise.

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