Review of Platform

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  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


Digital marketing expert Cynthia Johnson says that – like it or lump it – you have a personal brand; either one you craft for yourself or the one the world shapes for you. Johnson details how to take charge of your personal brand, starting with original thought and the courage to be authentic. Though she frames branding as necessary, she makes it fun, even daring. Johnson offers practical, general advice and killer hacks. She provides a terrific starting point for building your brand.

About the Author

Social media expert Cynthia Johnson co-founded Bell + Ivy, a Los Angeles–based branding agency.


Personal branding is the platform from which the world sees you. If you don’t shape it yourself, other forces will shape it for you.

Johnson explains that in the early 20th century, people began to associate ideas, values and feelings with brands. Advertising emphasized brand benefits. In the 1980s, brands evolved to create culture. Nowadays, social media enables consumers to communicate and interact with brands. Branding drives influence. People who want to reach an audience of stockholders, for instance, might prefer to publish in Bloomberg instead of reaching out to stockholders individually. Brands strive to be like people – connecting with others and expressing their voices.

The point of Johnson’s book – one that most people already understand – is that individuals can build a personal brand. You can define your measure of success. As the author explains, “Personal branding is about being yourself out loud.” Some people are afraid to ask for what they want due to programed expectations and fear of rejection. Instead, value your skills, and use them to get what you want.

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