Bachelor Thesis – Issue 1: Self-Marketing vs. Personal Branding

Since I am writing my thesis, did I mention this once before?..he he.. I wanna let you know what the issues are I am tackling during the process.

Branding

The first one (some time ago now) was to clearly differentiate Self-marketing and Personal Branding. I started out by reading the book of Dan Schawbel about Personal Branding called “Me 2.0″, in this he gives a definition for Personal Branding:

“Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.” p.4

Well, that’s a lot to digest. Let’s look at the definition of Self-marketing in contrast to that (the German Wikipedia supplies one):

“Self-marketing or Ego-Marketing are called all systematic and intentional approaches of commercialization / marketing oneself. This is realized by self-critically assigning all findings of Product and Service Marketing to the own persona.”

Since contrasting these two definitions not yet helped me much with the issue of seperating Personal Branding and Self-marketing conceptually, I  went to the library again to find more definitions of these two and maybe a book contrasting them.. but besides more definitions, I couldn’t find any book assigning importance to outlining this connection in detail OR in general.

Then finally I came to the conclusion that I have to plainly simplify the whole problem. So I dropped the “Self” of Self-Marketing and the “Personal” of Personal Branding and just studied the connection of Marketing and Branding. Then it hit me! Damn.. it’s so easy and I won’t blame you if you knew it all the way.

I opened a book called Internet-Marketing by Dave et al Chaffey and looked at the schema of the marketing mix. Branding is included as one part of the elements product and communication, which makes total sense.

In one way does Self-Marketing help you line out an extensive marketing concept and on the other hand does personal branding as a part of the whole, as a special tool, help you to better differentiate yourself from the other “products” and go deeper when it comes to product definition and the communication of it’s benefits. Intensify.

I could go on deduce correlations from this, but I just wanted to give you an idea about the things I am working on. Because in my opinion it’s not only important to understand how business works and suggest effective marketing measures, it is equally important to keep the big picture in mind. Know where each measure belongs ….well, that’s just me.

  • http://twitter.com/paulcopcutt Paul Copcutt-Sqr.Peg

    Christina, an interesting thesis you are working on. In my work with clients in the personal branding area I come across what I would define as self marketing, but this may have more of a North American slant. Many times this approach is what agencies do with an entrepreneur or professional service people – self marketing tends to focus on the external look of whoever or whatever they are promoting – e.g. business cards, logo, colours etc.

    This is certainly part of personal branding, but only after you have clearly defined what your brand is, understanding what your unique value is and who is going to see that value and want some of it.

    Just my toonies worth

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaRogge Christina Rogge 羅慧娜

    Paul, first thanks for your insight! I really much appreciate it.

    I thought about your comment, and I must say, that i not entirely aggree with you.
    “self marketing tends to focus on the external look” and “personal branding….defined what your brand is, understanding what your unique value is”

    This might be how people understand personal branding and self-marketing in practice, but when it comes to theory those two are defined differently.

    Self-marketing should make you understand what your product is (unique selling proposition) and how to communicate this. Moreover should it be about choosing a distribution channel: Is it better for me to sell my services online or do I go to special fairs and try to contact future costumers there? And the final “P” of the marketing-mix: Price. Am I already a well-known expert who can sell it's services at a high price or do I want to gain experience first by offering services for cheaper and by that build reputation?
    Of course there is even more than that to Self-Marketing, but this as a basic. So I don't think it's just about business cards and logos…

    Personal Branding is more about what the brand is, and by that I mean: sure it should differentiate you from the others, make you stand out, but more on with creating an image within the minds of people consisting of all the information and expectations associated with your product or service. What emotions does your brand trigger in others? That's why I mentioned that Personal Branding intensifies. (I would put the logos and business cards here, but only with a strategy behind it all)

    If you'd like to discuss this further feel free to send me an email! info(at)christinarogge.com

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaRogge Christina Rogge 羅慧娜

    Paul, first thanks for your insight! I really much appreciate it.

    I thought about your comment, and I must say, that i not entirely aggree with you.
    “self marketing tends to focus on the external look” and “personal branding….defined what your brand is, understanding what your unique value is”

    This might be how people understand personal branding and self-marketing in practice, but when it comes to theory those two are defined differently.

    Self-marketing should make you understand what your product is (unique selling proposition) and how to communicate this. Moreover should it be about choosing a distribution channel: Is it better for me to sell my services online or do I go to special fairs and try to contact future costumers there? And the final “P” of the marketing-mix: Price. Am I already a well-known expert who can sell it's services at a high price or do I want to gain experience first by offering services for cheaper and by that build reputation?
    Of course there is even more than that to Self-Marketing, but this as a basic. So I don't think it's just about business cards and logos…

    Personal Branding is more about what the brand is, and by that I mean: sure it should differentiate you from the others, make you stand out, but more on with creating an image within the minds of people consisting of all the information and expectations associated with your product or service. What emotions does your brand trigger in others? That's why I mentioned that Personal Branding intensifies. (I would put the logos and business cards here, but only with a strategy behind it all)

    If you'd like to discuss this further feel free to send me an email! info(at)christinarogge.com

  • http://twitter.com/adrianchira Adrian Chira

    Christina, I was wondering about your thesis. I tend to agree with you in that Marketing is broader than Branding. One aspect that is missing in the Personal Branding is the conversion part. Most of the process is based on the discovery of the brand essence and then on the way this is communicated to the world and then we wait for offers. There is nothing about leads, lead nurturing or converting those leads to offers or finally sales in the Personal Branding. This finally comes to your conclusion that Self Marketing includes Personal Branding and it should extend beyond business cards and logos. In these days it should include some kind of CRM, lead monitoring and nurturing and most important sales.

  • http://christinarogge.com Christina Rogge

    Thanks Adrian for sharing your opinion about this post.

    I do agree with you that Personal Branding includes more than what I described, just as well as Self-marketing. The thing is that I did not focus on personal branding in my thesis. I rather tried to draw a big picture – construct a basic structure for Online Self-Marketing. While using this structure you can add new aspects and tools to it in the process. The more experienced you get with Self-Marketing the more you can extend your activities and adjust them to your personal needs, for example Personal Branding aspects like lead nurturing.

    When you look at the Online Self-Marketing Cycle I described there is a box named strategies. Those Strategies I will describe in a new post (coming soon), lead nurturing could be one strategy in the whole process.

  • Luca Palásti

    Dear Christina,

    I am very interested in Your thesis. I am a master student in Hungary and I was thinking about writing a study (and maybe later a thesis) about self marketing and personal branding. Now i am just making the initial things, like source researching, but unfortunately most of the relevant articles can be accessed only with a suscribtion. I would be very grateful if You could help me in some ways, that what kind of sources did You use when You was writing Your thesis.
    My e-mail adress is luca.palasti@gmail.com
    Best regards,
    Luca Palásti

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaRogge Christina Rogge 羅慧娜

    Hey Luca,

    Sure I'd like to help you. I will send you an email with my list of literature attached to it. That way you can gain some insights into the resources I've used. Although It will be in German, but I am sure with the names of the authors you can find the English copy online.

    Cheers,
    Christina