Personal Branding, or Rebranding

I was recently reading a college oriented document about having a “personal brand,” and while it was aimed at undergraduates who may have little real-world experience to point to and may benefit from a personal message upon which to focus and highlight their lives in a concise and engaging way, I was intrigued.

I did not read this as an elevator speech, but rather as the little phrase (or tagline, subtitle, or caption) that appears at the top of most blogs. It includes interests, perhaps a value proposition, an idea of what I am passionate about, interests, and such.

I did some brainstorming, and found these common words (and threads):

  • reflective practice
  • critical thinking
  • assumptions
  • paradigms
  • teaching
  • learning
  • postmodernism
  • constructivism
  • qualitative
  • online
  • community of practice

I wonder if it is time for me to revise mine?

Currently, I am using:

Reflective practice in organizational learning, educational technology, and postmodern society.

and I have been thinking about changing it to something more along the lines of:

Challenging assumptions to promote learning and teaching


Challenging assumptions to construct postmodern learning

Now, it is time for some feedback and help with this. I am oftentimes surprised by who reads my blog, and invite some feedback and thoughts here. I have been tinkering with this idea for about four weeks, and now want to decide and have something new to live with and try out. Thoughts?

22 thoughts on “Personal Branding, or Rebranding

  1. “Challenging assumptions to construct postmodern learning.”

    I would go with this one because it’s more specific to you. You can position yourself accordingly and become known for it!

  2. @Dan Schawbel

    Dan, this is a really thoughtful and quite helpful comment. Thank you for sharing it.

    BTW, I looked at your blog — it seems you do interesting work. I never knew it was a “field,” per se.

  3. FWIW, “reflective practice” has a much more positive connotation for me than “challenging assumptions”– not that the latter is a bad thing at all, but the blogosphere is full of shallow gadflies that you don’t want to be confused with! And challenge seems inherent in constructing (such as it is) a postmodern anything ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. @Chris L

    Helpful observations, Chris. With what you said, does this mean you are thinking of something along these lines: “Reflective Practice to construct postmodern learning?”

  5. Hmm… “construct,” or more along the lines of “facilitate” or “foster?” (Nurture? Envision? There’s a thesaurus hiding here somewhere:-)) Is it as mechanistic as “constructing” implies?

  6. As previous comments have said, it depends how you want to situate yourself in the online world. And who you want your audience to be.

    I’m all for keeping things simple. Using words like’ construct’ & ‘postmodern’ means something to me because I am an educator, but it is very surprising the number of people who do not know what these words and concepts are. Even ‘reflective practice’ is new to some. Eg would your undergrad students know what you’re talking about? Or would it put them off? Or do you care – are you really pitching your blog at fellow educators?

  7. Jeffrey…nice to see you looking at your Personal Value Proposition (PVP) and putting it to the audience for review! \Sarah makes soem great points, so my question would be around ‘who is your target audience?’ be specific here…is it the learning and development manage in a financial services company or the head of a department at the local university? Get that clear, and then try again. I personally think phrases like ‘postmodern thinking’ are for knobs. People will pass judgement on your 11 times in 5 seconds, so make sure your PVP evokes an emotion in your target audience in the first 5 seconds so you get their minds focused on your story (i.e. what are you trying to sell). For my 2 cents worth…”I challenge people to learn” is a little closer to what floats my boat?

  8. @Sarah Stewart

    This is really useful, Sarah. I tend not to think much about this. While I blog in a public space to engage in reflective practice, I often do not think much about my audience. I know, not the best thing to do (especially as a management communications faculty member), and perhaps that is a piece of this–I write primarily for myself, rather than for an audience that may be interested in this or that. The fact that some people, such as you, are kind and interested enough to take a peek here every now and then is a wonderful incentive to keep writing.

    Perhaps my audience is both myself and my peers?

  9. Hi Jeff!
    Fostering Practice to Construct Postmodern Learning sound to me more oriented towards action than Reflective Practice to construct postmodern learning.
    All the best. Hugs. Maru

  10. @Luke Harvey-Palmer

    Wonderful food for thought, Luke. I have never been much of a self-marketer / promoter, and that issue I suppose is central to this entire process.

    With all this said and done, my audience will ultimately be others like me–educators and those who are interested in education–primarily adult educators who are passionate about technology and its integration into learning systems, as well as the focus upon the individual’s re-self-identification process as a result.

    Hmmm, I am now wondering about a twist on these, such as:

    “Using reflective learning to foster postmodern practice”

  11. Jeffrey…you are getting some great feedback here! To your point around not being a ‘self marketer’ or ‘self promoter’ you are have a blog, and you have readers – so you are a better self promoter and marketer than you think you are!…You sound clear on your audience which is great – send them a text, or an email and ask for 3 words that they think of when they hear your name. The solutions so far just don’t seem ‘personal’ enough to me. I am not across your passions and your personal brand attributes – as we just met on your blog!; but I always encourage my clients to incorporate what they are passionate about, what they are good at, and what they do to help others, into their personal value proposition (we believe a GREAT PVP is all about stating what you can do for people – i.e. benefits) If it helps at all (and my final comment I promise) know that there are 8 motivating factors for ALL people – to be wealthy, good looking, healthy, popular, secure, achieve inner peace, have free time and have fun. How does what you do help me achieve one of these 8? Have fun, and I look forward to seeing the end result! (BTW we work with GREAT people to make them POPULAR)

  12. This is a great topic! Now I want to think about mine. But first yours…

    I like Maru’s action statement version. I like too how she uses both foster and construct. Like you are fostering the construction in others as well as yourself.

    I don’t like the word assumptions. It always reminds me of the old assume makes an a$$ out of you and me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. @Maru

    Thank you for the thinking. I think I internalized it before I started tweaking this more last night. Very useful mashup of these terms; wonderful input!

  14. @Luke Harvey-Palmer

    I appreciate what you are saying about seeming personal. I have never really thought about these issues about myself (usually more with my learners and colleagues). Feel a bit stumped now as I start considering these on a much larger level than I initially thought . . .

  15. @Christiana

    I use that example all the time!

    So, with all said and done, this is my most current thinking (including all the advice and challenges colleagues far and wide so generously offered:

    Fostering the practice of postmodern learning

  16. Those 8 factors all people share might well be true, but they are missing (or are very abstract versions of) various motivations that make educators tick: enhancing professional reputation, the egalitarian spirit of sharing, network building (in the connectivism sense), etc.

    For that audience, postmodern has different connotations, perhaps not as negative but possibly confusing. I, for instance, associate postmodernism with a relatively particular set of assumptions and ideas that are part of post-structuralism.

    I suspect personal branding is an idea that takes some radically different shapes depending on the context.

  17. @Chris L

    Interesting observations, Chris. As always, we need things to be somewhat contextual. I appreciate the post-structural concepts as well, and while I am an adherent of many of those views, I am particularly interested in an educational approach that views the world as a constantly changing and very complex / chaotic place that constantly defies simple answers or traditional stances.

    What are your thoughts about the most recent tagline, “Fostering the practice of postmodern learning . . .”

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