During the Depression of the 1930s in the US, motivational writer Napoleon Hill laid the foundation for “personal positioning,” described nearly forty-five years later by marketing executives Al Ries and Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.
By 1997, business writer Tom Peters introduced “personal branding” as self-packaging that communicates an individual’s accomplishments and characteristics, including appearance, as a “brand promise of value.”
Positioning, branding, and packaging are related but differentiated.
Self-packaging can be considered “the shell of who you are” whereas self-presentation can be “what sets you apart from the crowd.“
The goal of personal branding is to communicate intrinsic, important, differentiating personal characteristics, exemplified in self-packaging details like attire, business cards, speaking style and more, according to Jim Kurkal and Murray Newlands.
Academic researchers have investigated intangibles of personal branding, presentation, and packaging such an academic analysis
by University of Michigan’s Daniel Lair with Katie Sullivan of University of Utah, and Kent State’s George Cheney.
They referred to personal branding as “…self-commodification” worthy of “careful and searching analysis.“
They examined complex rhetoric tactics used in personal branding, they identified how these approaches shape power relations by gender, age, race, and class.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation identified potential biases facing women and members of minority groups in implicit requirements for executive presence embodied in personal appearance, a component of self-presentation.
These analyses suggest that personal packaging, branding, and marketing significantly affect professional opportunities and outcomes, despite challenges of tracing these effects.
-*What elements do you consider in “personal packaging” and the specific case of personal appearance?
-*How do you mitigate possible bias based on expectations for personal appearance?
- How Much Does Appearance Matter?
- Executive Presence: “Gravitas”, Communication…and Appearance?
- Glass Elevator and Nine Principles for Personal Branding, Career Impact