As I have written in this space many times before, I started Ad Aged during a bout of unemployment as a way to keep my name in front of prospective employers and also as a way of asserting that I was a "voice" in the industry.
It never occurred to me, really, that I was "branding" myself. Or creating "George, the brand."
About a year ago, almost to the day, I posted a bit of a talk by then-CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano. In it he remarked that too many people (he specifically mentioned CEOs) are more interested in cultivating their personal brands than in doing really important work. His criterion for success, by contrast, was leaving the company a better place than he found it, which he clearly did.
I think, over the course of the last fifteen or twenty years where I was senior enough to make a difference, I have left everywhere I've worked a better place than when I started. And I've done the same for clients.
That's been the extent of my "personal branding." Doing work that's good for the agency and the client. Speaking directly to both clients and agency management. And along the way helping young people who work for me.
I've never taken to signing my emails with something like this: ::, or writing in all lower case, or cultivating three-days-growth and saying "spot on" and "brilliant" to people. As Popeye said, "I yam what I yam." And that's about all I can do.
That said, I was recognized over the weekend as an "Online Allstar." http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/183483/online-all-star-creative-george-tannenbaum.html And it would be even too self-effacing for me, a self-effacing Jew, not to mention it. (BTW, Jews have turned self-effacement into high art and I could probably teach a course in it at the New School--except it would be non-self-effacing to.)