On the topic of building a personal brand, there’s an interesting article in the New York Times, Songs from the Heart of a Marketing Plan, that talks about the trend of artists creating music with the goal of commercial success — besides the obvious one of selling songs to fans. More than ever, as a consumer market, we’re tuned in to emerging artists and niche genres, but we’re reluctant to pay for any of it. With that reality check, artists are creating music specifically for commercial uses like television ads (eg. Apple), thereby building their own personal brands through exposure. Revenue through music sales is just icing on the cake.
Also on the topic of building the personal brand: Not a stunning revelation, but this BusinessWeek article talks about the Web’s Free-Labor Economy. I like how it succinctly describes what many of us are doing these days — spending large amounts of time working in the hopes of non-monetary incentives. For example: the free-labor model of blogging, spending hours on the Web and writing posts in an effort to build an audience, a community, a personal brand. There have certainly been notable success, but whether all of this is sustainable in the long term is another question.