Well, actually this topic has been staying on my mind for a while but I haven’t really got time and mood to type things down. Until this morning, I felt good and even did a bit of morning run then I found this news about an ‘influencer’ staging her ‘surprise engagement weekend’ and propose sponsorship to brand(s) for the ‘intimate precious’ moment.
I was like,
I know that collaboration proposal is common in this ‘influencer’ world, but trading the most intimate moments with your loved ones and turning them into sponsored events just sounds wrong, at least for me. Even worse when you have to act ‘surprised’ for money and you aren’t a reality show contestant :’)
Well, but that’s not the main topic I had in mind. I thought more about how a lot of people now are trying hard to be ‘influencer’ and create certain particular personal branding for themselves. Yes, ‘personal branding’ is the keyword. Although I formally came from engineering school, I’ve been quite familiar with this branding concept; like how we build a brand, knowing our target market / audiences and using our audience’s language to communicate with them.
When I started blogging in 2002, most people I know used blog for personal stories and thoughts. As I grew up, I learned about niche and monetization of blog and social media; which I kind of do now.
I can even tell quite a lot about my audiences and what suits or doesn’t suit them. So personal branding is definitely a must as soon as we monetize our online presence professionally.
However, I must say that personal branding, just like branding in general term needs time and consistency to build. It’s a promise you’ve got to keep. For example, when you create a ‘good mom’ brand on yourself, then you have to keep on posting things about you’re a mom and you are… good; kind and understanding. You’ll have to keep the ‘darker’ and ‘angrier’ part of yourself to yourself (or the closest ones, maybe) because your audience and the brands you’re working with don’t want to see you as a crazy mom ranting about how their kids doodled on the wall and puke on the carpet.
Another example, when you create a ‘smart intellectual I’ll-Win-Any-Debate millennial’ brand on yourself, you have to be smart all the time, otherwise people would say, “Oh, he/she isn’t as smart as he/she appears to be on social media.” Or, well, you can’t let people know that you just shopped at H&M (or any fast fashion brand) and a lot people would be afraid to tell any stupid ice breaker when you’re around even if you actually and secretly love #dadjokes.
So personal branding can be tiring and even more tiring when it’s not who you really are. It makes sense for celebrity persona who earns millions of dollars for being who people expect them to be; but if you’re doing it so hard and expecting for freebies and free access to medium scale event in return; just think about it again.
Once, I was interviewed for a thesis by a student regarding personal branding and I got confused when I was asked, “So, what kind of brand essence you’d like to present? How are you unique from the other mothers? Who are your competitors?” I can’t even describe what kind of mother I am. A good one? A silly one? A tiger-like one? An organic one? An honest one?
Well, I’m not sure because I don’t want to be a mom that behaves based on people’s expectation. I’m a mess mixture of everything but I’ll never stop doing my best, and I promise my family I’ll improve. I read various parenting books and decide that when it comes to parenting, “I’ll do me.” I believe we are multifaceted and we are growing. We change all the time and personal branding in certain degree may affect our personal life and limit us from changing, progressing (or even worse, being who ourselves are)
Some people think that ‘@byputy’ can have more followers if I consistently talk about one topic instead of random-jumping from book reading, rom-com binging, sharing heavy thoughts then dumb jokes 30 minutes later. I may agree with that but I don’t think that having more followers is my solemn goal.