Personal branding is the intentional effort to create and influence public perception of you by positioning yourself as an authority in your industry. The goal is to elevate your credibility by differentiating yourself from competitors in order advance your career, increase your circle of influence, and ultimately have a larger impact. Like many good ideas gone bad, the idea of personal branding seems to have taken on a façade like quality, bordering on narcissism. Personal branding appears to coincide with society's obsession with self-promotion via social networking channels—as well as in professional networking sites like LinkedIn, which is in theory is reserved for building a professional network, access to insights and opportunities, recruiting/hiring, promotion of a business's brand, etc.
What I find interesting about these personal branders is that they think they are accomplishing something of consequence by way of self-promotion. When they are just promoting what they want others to believe about them—not who they really are or what they tangibly accomplish. Some even have the audacity to refer to themselves as leaders and are first in line to bring attention to their self-perceived uniqueness, aka how wonderful they are. It follows that the phenomenon known as social media has now fully pervaded the workplace. It's as if the real leaders have been replaced by those most effective at self-promotion and personal branding. It reminds me of high school where the most popular individuals win, but do they?