“Personal Branding” is Bullshit

Fairly recently, a commenter on this blog asked for my opinion on “personal branding.”

For those who haven’t been exposed to this cutting-edge concept, it’s really quite simple.

In 1997, business consultant and author Tom Peters wrote :

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

More Social Media Stupidity

My post yesterday led to a response by Mashable’s Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, which led to some amusing displays of social media stupidity that I felt worth sharing on this beautiful Friday.

First we have a brilliant comment from “Ling”:

You can’t precisely measure the benefits of ‘good’ social media marketing.

Of course, this begs the question: if you can’t measure something, how do you know it exists?

Who Says Social Media Can’t Be Measured?

I always find it revealing that, for all the hype about social media as a marketing medium, the most vocal proponents of its virtues seem unusually ill-equipped to answer basic questions about the claimed successes of social media campaigns.

For instance, the individuals involved with one social media marketing campaign claimed that 200,000 people were driven to an amusement park in Texas. Yet, in response to , the marketer behind it was unable to answer basic questions, such as “How many people did your campaign reach?”, “How many people visited the website you set up?” and “What methodology was used to determine how and where theme park visitors found out about the ride you were promoting?”

Dude, You Must Think I’m Stupid

In my opinion, the technology blogosphere has become little more than a circle jerk. Apparently it’s turning “research” into a circle jerk as well.

I’ve been engaging in an interesting “conversation” with Dell’s Richard Binhammer that was sparked by on the problems with “conversational marketing.”

Dell and Binhammer by social media proponent Shel Israel for their use of social media. I questioned just how great an impact social media has made for Dell, noting that for all the good work Dell has done in the blogosphere, the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index didn’t rank Dell very highly and observed a drop in Dell’s satisfaction rating last year.

A Social Media Marketing Campaign Deconstructed

Could an inexpensive social media marketing campaign drive 200,000 people to a SeaWorld theme park? One social media marketer claims just that.

, I deconstruct what some tout as a successful social media marketer campaign.

Based upon the available information and scarce Web 2.0 commodities called logic and common sense, I come to a startling conclusion: the emperor still has no clothes.

Fail: AOL Makes $850 Million Bet on Engagement Advertising

Even Google can’t monetize social networks. But that hasn’t stopped AOL from making an $850 million bet on social networks as an advertising platform as it was that AOL has acquired popular social network Bebo. Bebo has approximately 40 million users and is most popular in the UK.

As reported by Allen Stern at CenterNetworks, during AOL’s conference call, questions were asked about advertising and how AOL planned to deal with the fact that most social network users just don’t seem to be interested in the advertising. The response: AOL will use “engagement advertising.”

RIP: Brands? Hardly

Hank Williams recently informed the world of the tragic inevitable passing of the brand. After the Oscars pulled in the lowest number of viewers in 39 years, Hank recognized something that seemed to have eluded everybody else:

I think what it really says is something quite significant about the value and role of brands in modern culture. The Oscar failure is is a reflection of the fact that we are inexorably headed towards a day when brands, as a concept, mean absolutely nothing.

I found it amusing that Hank would use the Oscars as a “case study” for his ill-informed argument given that the causes for the poor ratings are fairly well-accepted:

Note to Tide: Detergent is Detergent

In on the absurdity of Forrester Research’s recommendation that marketers spend more money on social media advertising, I noted:

…consumers may love your products, but at the end of the day, toothpaste is toothpaste.

I recently hired a few marketing interns and am having them catalog all of the stupid social media marketing campaigns they can find on services like Facebook. I’m thinking about one day publishing a full-color, glossy coffee table book that serves as a visual compendium of the insanity of some of the social media marketing campaigns.

Social Media Marketers Targeting People Who Don’t Exist?

Continuing my debunking of many of the absurdities promoted by social media marketers, discusses dealing with the subject of “Influentials,” those desirable individuals whose influential ways supposedly have the power to spark viral word-of-mouth buzz.

Word-of-mouth is one of the cornerstones of the social media marketer’s proposition to brands. Using social media, they’ll get your product and message into the hands of Influentials and the rest is apparently magic. Sounds good, right?

Forrester Research: Blow Your Money on Social Marketing

Given my recent focus on debunking many of the claims about social media marketing and the viability of social networks as strong marketing platforms, I wanted to point readers of The Drama 2.0 Show in the direction of on the subject at E-consultancy.

In a recent free “report,” Forrester is advising clients to spend more money on social network advertising, especially as the economy falters. I think this is stupid advice and detail why .

keep looking »


Lead Sponsor

Drama 2.0's indulgent jet-set lifestyle is supported by Drama 2.0 Show lead sponsor . For more information about MySites, click here.


Drama 2.0 spikes the Web 2.0 kool aid by providing critical analyses of Web 2.0, its people, its startups and its impact on the world of media. Other topics are explored when Drama 2.0 has been drinking too much 1975 Dom Perignon. Read more about the Internet's version of Keyser Söze here.