Let me explain personal branding from a different perspective – one that takes into account the complexities of our identities and how we present ourselves to the world. It’s called the post-structuralist perspective, and it challenges the idea that we have a fixed, stable identity that we need to promote through our personal brand. Instead, it suggests that our identity is a fluid, ever-changing construct that is shaped by our interactions with others and the larger societal structures we exist within. In other words, personal branding is not just about crafting a polished image, but about understanding the deeper forces that shape who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.
Find your archetype
Sure, here’s a table matching the archetypes of Gen Alpha with the 12 archetypes from the hero’s journey:
|Gen Alpha Archetype||Hero’s Journey Archetype|
|The Digital Native||The Explorer|
|The Global Citizen||The Sage|
|The Entrepreneur||The Creator|
|The Social Activist||The Outlaw|
|The Wellness Seeker||The Healer|
|The Creative||The Artist|
|The Inclusive Leader||The Leader|
|The Eco-Warrior||The Eco-Warrior|
|The Hybrid Identity||The Shape-Shifter|
|The Data Wizard||The Wise One|
|The Work/Life Integrator||The Seeker|
|The Virtual Citizen||The Magician|
Note that there is no perfect match between the Gen Alpha archetypes and the hero’s journey archetypes, as they were developed from different perspectives and for different purposes. However, there are some similarities and overlaps between them, which can provide insights into how to develop personal branding strategies that resonate with Gen Alpha’s unique characteristics and values.
From a post-structuralist perspective, the concept of archetypes as fixed, universal, and objective categories that individuals can fit into is called into question. Post-structuralists argue that identities and subjectivities are not pre-given, essential, or innate, but rather are socially constructed and historically contingent. Therefore, finding one’s archetype may not be a matter of discovering a pre-existing, essential identity, but rather of constructing and negotiating one’s subjectivity within the discursive and cultural contexts in which one lives.
However, one could still explore and reflect on the dominant cultural narratives, discourses, and ideologies that shape our sense of identity and subjectivity, and analyze how we position ourselves within them. For example, one could critically examine the media representations of different archetypes, and deconstruct the power relations and meanings embedded in them. One could also reflect on the social and historical contexts in which one grew up, and how they have influenced one’s sense of self and identity.
The 12 archetypes of the Alpha Generation, including a slogan, examples, and an overview of each archetype:
|Digital Native||Connected from birth||Mark Zuckerberg, Emma Watson||Comfortable with technology and digital platforms, can use social media with ease.|
|Global Citizen||One world, one love||Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg||Open to other cultures and perspectives, aware of global issues such as climate change.|
|Entrepreneur||Innovate, disrupt, succeed||Elon Musk, Kylie Jenner||Creative, innovative, and interested in starting their own businesses and pursuing new ideas.|
|Social Activist||Be the change||Amanda Gorman, Yara Shahidi||Passionate about making a positive impact in the world, desire to effect social change.|
|Wellness Seeker||Find your balance||Simone Biles, Billie Eilish||Focus on physical and mental well-being, interested in health and wellness practices.|
|Creative||Express yourself||Billie Eilish, Zendaya||Love of art, music, and self-expression, interested in DIY culture and the maker movement.|
|Inclusive Leader||Empower, uplift, unite||Meghan Markle, Barack Obama||Commitment to diversity and inclusivity, desire to create a more equitable and just society.|
|Eco-Warrior||Protect our planet||Greta Thunberg, Leonardo DiCaprio||Concern for the environment, desire to protect the planet through sustainable practices.|
|Hybrid Identity||Embrace your uniqueness||Zazie Beetz, Amandla Stenberg||Complex and diverse identities, ability to navigate multiple cultural and social contexts.|
|Data Wizard||Analyze, strategize, innovate||Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk||Proficiency with data analysis and digital tools, use technology to solve complex problems.|
|Work/Life Integrator||Find meaning in balance||Arianna Huffington, Tim Ferriss||Interest in achieving a work-life balance, willingness to blur the lines between work and personal life in pursuit of fulfillment.|
|Virtual Citizen||Connect and create communities||Charli D’Amelio, Lil Nas X||Ability to navigate virtual worlds, understand the power of social media and online communities.|
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to construct a personal brand using insights from various perspectives:
- Identify your core values and beliefs: Begin by reflecting on your core values, beliefs, and passions. This will help you understand what drives you and what you stand for. Your personal brand should reflect these values and beliefs.
- Conduct a self-audit: Take an honest look at yourself and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine what you can offer and what you need to work on to improve your personal brand.
- Define your target audience: Determine who your target audience is, what they care about, and how your personal brand can add value to their lives. This will help you tailor your messaging and positioning to resonate with them.
- Craft your unique story: Use the insights from poststructuralist theory and Allan Watts’ perspective to craft a unique story that showcases your personality, values, and experiences. This story should be authentic, compelling, and resonate with your target audience.
- Develop your brand identity: Create a visual identity that represents your personal brand. This includes your logo, color palette, typography, and overall aesthetic. Ensure that your brand identity is consistent across all your online and offline channels.
- Build your online presence: Use social media platforms to build your online presence and amplify your personal brand. Create a professional profile on LinkedIn and showcase your personal brand on other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
- Create valuable content: Use your unique story and core values to create valuable content that resonates with your target audience. This content can take the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, or social media posts.
- Network and engage: Attend industry events, connect with other professionals in your field, and engage with your followers online. This will help you expand your network and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
- Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor your personal brand and adjust your messaging and positioning as necessary. Use feedback from your audience and insights from analytics to refine your personal brand over time.
- Stay true to yourself: Lastly, remember to stay true to yourself and your core values throughout the process of constructing your personal brand. Your personal brand should be an authentic representation of who you are and what you stand for.
Personal Branding in the Light of Alan Watts’ Philosophy
Personal branding has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in contemporary society. With the advent of social media, everyone seems to have an online persona, carefully curated and crafted to represent a specific image of themselves. While this may seem like a relatively new development, the desire to construct and maintain a specific image of oneself has been a concern throughout human history. However, the modern obsession with personal branding can be seen as symptomatic of a deeper cultural malaise, one that philosopher Alan Watts explored in his work.
Watts, a British philosopher who passed away in 1973, was an expert in comparative religion and Eastern philosophy. He was one of the first Westerners to introduce Zen Buddhism to a wider audience and became famous for his lectures and writings on a wide range of topics, from spirituality to psychology. Despite his work being decades old, his insights remain highly relevant today, especially in the context of personal branding.
At the heart of Watts’ philosophy is the idea that our sense of self is an illusion. He argued that our egos, the image we have of ourselves, are a construct created by language and culture. We become so identified with this ego that we forget that it is not our true self. Instead, we are part of a larger, interconnected whole, and our attempt to separate ourselves from the rest of the world is the source of much of our anxiety and suffering.
In the context of personal branding, this idea has important implications. If we accept that our sense of self is illusory, then our attempts to construct and maintain a specific image of ourselves can be seen as futile. No matter how carefully we craft our personal brand, it will always be a construct, a product of our ego, and not our true self.
Furthermore, Watts argued that our obsession with personal branding is symptomatic of a larger cultural problem, namely our preoccupation with material success and external validation. We have become so concerned with projecting an image of ourselves that will be well-received by others that we have lost touch with our true selves. This, in turn, leads to a sense of alienation and disconnection from the world around us.
Watts believed that the key to overcoming this sense of disconnection and finding true fulfillment lay in letting go of our attachment to our ego and embracing our interconnectedness with the world around us. Rather than striving to project a specific image of ourselves, we should focus on being authentic and genuine, expressing our true selves in all their complexity and imperfection.
This is not to say that personal branding is inherently bad or that we should all abandon social media and go live in a cave. Rather, it is a reminder that our obsession with personal branding is symptomatic of a larger cultural malaise, one that is leading us away from our true selves and into a world of superficiality and materialism.
In conclusion, Alan Watts’ philosophy offers an important perspective on personal branding. By reminding us of the illusory nature of our ego and the importance of our interconnectedness with the world around us, he challenges us to re-evaluate our relationship with personal branding and to focus on being authentic and genuine rather than projecting a specific image of ourselves. This, in turn, can help us to find true fulfillment and meaning in our lives, something that cannot be achieved through the superficial pursuit of external validation.