Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
Should Personal branding have rules and limits?

Should Personal branding have rules and limits?

The Contrarian Marketing Podcast, Episode #4

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Personal branding helps entrepreneurs raise funds, job seekers get offers and salespersons close leads. Being out there can be overwhelming but also incredibly rewarding.

So, should you pull any strings to build your personal brand or stay within limits?

✅Eli says yes, do anything and everything to build your personal brand!

⛔Kevin says no, there are limits to what you should do to not hurt your reputation.

In this episode of Contrarian Marketing, we discuss:

  • The limits of personal branding

  • How to not kill your reputation

  • 10 tips to build your personal brand

Key Takeaways

  • Personal branding helps you stand out from the crowd and elevates you as an expert in your professional domain.

  • To avoid unnecessary attention, draw boundaries about how you present yourself by knowing your target audience’s mindset and trigger points.

  • Ensure you maintain a positive perception about yourself within the industry peer circle and not just your audience.

Eli’s take — Building a personal brand helps accelerate your professional goals

Eli shares what it means to build a personal brand –

“A personal brand doesn't have to be something that you're super famous for and everyone knows about you in the industry. It just means that you carry more weight than just your resume – that when you are introduced to someone, they already know who you are.”

He mentions how one should focus on gaining the perception of an ‘expert’ with your personal branding efforts –

“Personal brand should be a deliberate process of how one would like to appear as something – like, I would like to be known for something, and these are the actions that I'm going to take because I want to be known for doing that.”

Sharing the example of Neil Patel’s personal brand, Eli states how in the end, the way your target audience perceives your brand is what matters irrespective of what everyone else thinks or says –

“Neil Patel has built a fantastic brand, and the negative attributes of his brand are within the digital marketing industry. But his tribe is not these people – his tribe are the corporations. When they hear of SEO or digital marketing, they're like – I've seen Neil Patel everywhere and he did SEO for TechCrunch, so now I too want to hire him. Fortune 50 brands are working with Neil Patel Digital, and that's because of that brand. So, he knows his tribe includes people in these corporations that will hire his agency.

He focuses on his audience and doesn’t care about the other audience, because that doesn't really support what he's trying to do. Thus, he doesn't care if the digital marketers that maybe are on the same level as him hate him. The power of his brand is what makes those negative people look like the minority and not the majority.”

To this, Kevin highlights how many corporates vet agencies or partners by asking for opinions from other industry professionals –

“Everybody knows each other. Even if you have many clients but everybody in the industry doesn't have a higher opinion of you – over time you fade out. Hence, it's important to have a good reputation with other people in the industry and with your peers.”

Kevin’s take — Personal branding may attract the wrong kind of attention or audience that may hurt your overall credibility

Kevin warns about being mindful about how one conducts themselves since being known exposes you to criticism or unnecessary attention.

“There are limits to what you should do when building a personal brand because it's all about getting attention. But remember that getting attention at any price can get really expensive – and it can get very expensive very quickly.”

Eli agrees to be careful when putting yourself out there – “You shouldn't do things that are dumb unless it's a part of your strategy.”

Kevin shares how one can draw a line while building a personal brand –

  • Define your moral limits

  • Define your audience and understand their mindset as to what they like or dislike

  • Know what your audience stands for and its limits. Align yourself as needed.

Kevin shares the example of Gary Vaynerchuck’s personal brand when it comes to staying within your limits –

“Gary Vaynerchuck stays within the boundaries of his tribe. He admits that he's a workaholic, curses and he shows how he fits that into his life. He owns that. It surely triggers people, but those people are not his tribe. He is respectful and doesn't care about that too much. So, I would say that Gary Vaynerchuck is a perfect example of staying within your limits and knowing where the boundaries are, and not doing everything.”

10 Tips to build your personal brand

  1. Use storytelling frameworks in your content to speak with your audience.

  2. Get logos and testimonials to bring credibility to your personal brand.

  3. Be open to being a student by sharing what you see, learn and understand about your domain.

  4. Get a headstart by buying followers on social media.

  5. Find 10 axioms for your industry, then develop a point of view around them, and then share content around these points of view with your audience.

  6. Increase your reach with guest spots on podcasts. You can start with smaller podcasts to hone your narrative for larger ones.

  7. Pick and work on a specific brand archetype that fits your voice and helps you differentiate.

  8. Set end goals for your personal brand and focus on working towards them.

  9. Find your content format for yourself.

  10. Get quoted in the media to build credibility.


Eli – “Creators will have more power. Companies need to flip the script and find ways to associate themselves with these creators.”

Eli – “We're in the early days of building a personal brand. So if you wait five years, the concept of a personal brand will be quite saturated. It will be harder to make a name for yourself.”

Kevin – “If you want to have a career, you may have to put yourself out there. I'm not saying everybody has to post on LinkedIn every day, but that the power has shifted from companies to people. This will create a new ecosystem where people will be able to improve their career chances by putting themselves out there.”


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Thank you!

Eli and Kevin

Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
Once a week, Eli and Kevin share contrarian marketing opinions about the topic du jour to give you ideas you might not be thinking about.