Personal Branding Lessons from Pop Culture

I’m not usually very big on pop culture. I don’t have cable, and I don’t read fashion magazines. However, this past month I’ve been inundated with pop culture messaging because of magazine subscriptions I received for Christmas and my New Year’s resolution to start visiting the gym again (where I now get a daily dose of t.v.). What I quickly noticed was that the underlying messages from each medium were often pieces of advice that carry weight when it comes to your personal branding efforts.

Mind Your Manners

Both Vanity Fair Magazine and the ABC Family series “Greek” reminded me of how important manners are. A poll in Vanity Fair reported that, “36 percent think that teaching manners should be mandatory throughout a child’s education.” This is a greater percentage than those who voted for the value of a dollar, interpersonal relationships and personal hygiene.

Furthermore, a conversation that happens between Tegan and Casey on “Greek” talks about why some sororities are so strict about enforcing rules upon the girls. Tegan explains that being hard on the girls prepares them for the world. Insisting that they follow proper procedures, showcase good manners and abide by rules ensures that they will be better prepared to get along well in society throughout their lives. Even though she was a horrifically disagreeable character, I must admit that I agree with her here.

Part of your personal brand is showing respect, both for other people and for rules. You don’t want to make people around you uncomfortable by displaying poor manners or by always being the one trying to bend the rules. I’m not saying to always conform, but be aware of how your behavior is affecting your personal brand. You don’t want poor manners to distract people from recognizing your many talents and strong suits.

Be A Good Listener

A lesson from “The Millionaire Matchmaker” on Bravo was that in order to make a relationship work, you must tune in to the other person. That may seem obvious, but how well do you really focus on what people are saying? Guess what simple step you can take to improve your listening? Turn your cellphone off! Your Blackberry or iPhone will not improve your relationships. And guess what? Relationships get you the job. Relationships bring in the new business. So, make sure that you are building strong relationships by fully engaging with people who speak with you. Don’t brand yourself as the person who answers the phone at the table or who texts while someone is speaking to you.

Feedback? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


Morgan is the social media strategist at Media Two, an interactive advertising agency in downtown Raleigh. In her role at Media Two, Morgan Siem helps businesses, both B2B and B2C to leverage social media channels to meet their business goals. Morgan has worked with clients such as Microsoft Office for Mac Business Unit, Entertainment Publications, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Kindermusik International and Special Olympics of North Carolina. Morgan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2009 with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in Spanish.

Related posts:

  1. Branding Lessons From Commerical Brands
  2. Branding lessons from the 2010 World Cup
  3. Personal Branding with Purpose: What’s Your Intention?

3 Responses to “Personal Branding Lessons from Pop Culture”

  1. avatar Phil Buckley says:

    Great post Morgan! I think we are all subject to sometimes forgetting that there are more than just our best friends listening to us on Facebook and Twitter.

    With parents now vetting their kids boyfriends and girlfriends, employers doing ad hoc background checks and news outlets pulling public data from your social stream remembering to always be on your best behavior is advice everyone should take to heart.

  2. I love that you’re getting lessons from Millionaire Matchmaker. Pop culture really is a great place to find personal branding tips. For a lot of people in the lime light, that’s the majority of their job. Fortunately for the rest of us, we can learn from their wins and fails instead of making them ourselves.

  3. avatar Jeff Tippett says:

    Great post, Morgan. I particularly like your comments about showing respect. With all the online communications tools available to us, I believe this respect extends beyond just those physically close to us. For example, a hasty tweet sent in anger will also affect our personal brand–perhaps on a grander scale.

    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. Nice job.

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Dan Schawbel

    Dan Schawbel, the founder of the Student Branding Blog, is a world renowned personal branding expert, the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, as well as the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog.

  • Connect With Dan

  • Chelsea Rice

    Chelsea Rice is the editor-in-chief of the Student Branding Blog. She began her work for just before graduating from Boston University, where she studied journalism and minored in international relations.

  • Connect With Chelsea

  • Recognition

    • Recommended resource - The Washington Post
    • "A terrific way for students to learn about branding" - Lindsey Pollak
    • "Worth checking out" - Psychology Today
    • HR World's top 100 management blogs