By Jerry S. Wilson and Ira Blumenthal
When I was offered the opportunity to review Managing Brand You, I jumped at it, thinking I might glean some new knowledge. I had been planning to change jobs in 2009 and one of the steps on my roadmap was to buy and read some books on personal branding.
The introduction and seven chapters, which correspond to the seven steps, outline the primary author’s (Wilson) “Brand You” concept, developed over several years as a senior vice president of Coca-Cola. The chapters have cutesy titles like, “Who am I and how did I get here?”; “I can get there from here;” and “I can build my own personal roadmap on my own terms.” Managing Brand You presents tools in the form of tables and in each chapter, a fictional character on the path to self-branding offers examples of how to fill out those tables. The book stands alone and does not drive the reader to websites or other media.
The authors state that, “The 7-step process presented in this book will help you get there effectively, efficiently, and enjoyably.” I agree; this book does indeed provide steps to “get there.” However, it provides very little information on what to do with your brand once you arrive. While the tables and examples in Managing Brand You are useful for self reflection, the seven steps are elementary and the text provides no references for deeper study. I was extremely disappointed that there was not at least a chapter devoted to one’s Internet fingerprint. The book was silent on the subject and I consider this a serious flaw.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is beginning to brand themselves and has no experience with personal branding (i.e., high school students and some undergraduates). It can also be used by people who want to reinvent or rebrand themselves, but haven’t been exposed to personal branding in the last decade. However, I would not use this book exclusively.
In contrast, I found both Brand You 50 (Tom Peters, 1999) and Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand (William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, 2007) very interesting and helpful in reinventing my brand in the years leading to my career change. Career Distinction covers three steps (extract, express, and exude) to becoming distinctive, while Peters’ small book, which is annoyingly formatted with inconsistent font sizes and bold text, is filled with 50 short chapters of discussion with a few interesting lists. I have seriously marked up and highlighted both books and used many of their ideas.