Thoughts on Personal Branding and LinkedIn. Image of a name tag with

Thoughts on Personal Branding and LinkedIn

I want to put the emphasis on keeping it real and resisting the pressure to oversell yourself; this is valuable advice that we never hear. It promotes a culture of authenticity, humility, and continuous personal and professional development improvement. Genuine and authentic individuals tend to leave a lasting positive impression on others.

While my career and business for over two decades have been mainly focused on business and nonprofit brand strategy and creative performance, my expertise includes personal branding. It’s a simple application of the constants in all branding: your brand is your reputation; it isn’t complicated to be yourself and focus on what you do best and care about the most.

Developing your personal brand is that simple. What reputation do you have, and what reputation do you desire? The misalignment is where you need to put in the work to earn the right reputation. For example, do you want to be known as a thought leader in your industry and role? Great, that’s a noble goal. Start by developing your point of view, build use cases, and powerful arguments that you can defend and persuade others to your unique perspective. Write, talk, and preach how you would talk to people relaxed and authentically. Don’t try to sound smart; be smart with your perspectives. Use informal language if that’s you. Be irreverent or proper if that’s you. Earn that reputation. No hacks, shortcuts, or gimmicks work; the only thing that will work is authenticity and consistency.

Again, it is always aspirational, so consistency and authenticity are key.

As we all know, you get the reputation you deserve, not necessarily the one you want.

So, dear reader, you may be thinking, hey, Bobby G, what’s your point?

My Point on Personal Branding

The point is around the Wild West of LinkedIn users giving themselves job titles that are outrageous in claims or simply not true. What is particularly troubling is people calling themselves “experts.”

Here’s the point: when you talk in absolutes and total certainty, you convey a sense of arrogant confidence and closed-mindedness. Is there such a thing as being an expert at anything? Simply, no. Sure, you can develop expertise and specialized knowledge from experience, and you may be thinking this is just semantics, but it isn’t. Words, however fluid, have meaning and connotations. And if you are labeling yourself an expert, but no one else is, it’s time to reflect and choose words you can own by example and be supported in your reputation.

You may have expertise, specialties, and experience, with an open mind to learn and grow, remaining curious and flexible in your ideas. The danger of claiming you are an expert or hiring a self-labeled expert: the truth will emerge, and there will be disappointment. Will your reputation be damaged? Yes. Will people talk and burst your buddle? Yes. Is it worth the price you will pay? Again, no.

Recommendations on Personal Branding

My advice is to stop calling yourself an expert or using titles that are bullshit and avoid those who make the claim. It reeks of arrogance and dogma. And I am pretty damn sure you don’t want that reputation or the reputation of working with these types. Resist the urges and pressure to oversell yourself. It is not worth it. Build your confidence around who you really are; after all, no one can compete with you on being you. So celebrate you, and be genuine and authentic, it really works and no one will be surprised.

Unsure if this applies to you? If you feel guilty or attacked, trust your gut.

Like I always say, friends, just keep it real.

Personal Branding FAQ

Here are a few points that reinforce your perspective:

  1. Authenticity Builds Trust:

    • Authenticity is a key element in building trust. It resonates with others when individuals present themselves genuinely and acknowledge their ongoing learning journey. People appreciate humility and authenticity over claims of absolute expertise.
  2. Continuous Learning:

    • Emphasizing a mindset of continuous learning and growth is crucial. Acknowledging that one can always improve and staying open to new ideas fosters a culture of adaptability and resilience.
  3. Reputation Management:

    • Your reputation is a valuable asset. Claiming expertise without substance can damage your reputation when the truth comes to light. Building a reputation based on honesty, genuine skills, and a willingness to learn contributes to long-term success.
  4. Avoiding Arrogance:

    • Your caution against conveying a sense of arrogant confidence is noteworthy. Arrogance can create barriers to communication and collaboration. Maintaining a humble approach makes connecting with others and building meaningful relationships easier.
  5. Celebrating Individuality:

    • Encouraging individuals to celebrate their unique qualities and strengths is a positive approach. No one can replicate your personal experiences, perspectives, and skills. Embracing this uniqueness sets the foundation for authentic personal branding.

Curious how Propr can authentically support your brand's growth?

Bobby Gillespie

With 24 years of creative experience in leadership, planning, and executing performance-based branding and web design strategies, Propr and I help small and medium-sized companies and organizations grow revenue, attract new customers, manage and scale their brands, and improve marketing performance. See our services.

I’m also the author of Build Your Brand Like You Give a Shit.
Connect and follow me on LinkedIn.

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About Propr

Propr Branding and Web Design Best of Maryland Awards
Propr is a boutique brand strategy and creative agency. We help companies and organizations grow through high-performing brand strategy, graphic & identity design, messaging & custom WordPress website design & development. Performance and results drive our passion for service. Let’s do great things for your brand together.

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I Wrote a Book on Branding

By: Bobby G    09/2023

By: Bobby G


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