Next Monday I'll be kicking off the Chicago New Media Summit with a talk called "Brand U.0". As far as I can tell, the Chicago New Media Summit is styled somewhat like TED, with a high volume of presentations lasting around 20 minutes. The back story for the presentation comes from an article I originally wrote for Ad Age in which I said:
"The hallmark of any great brand is authenticity -- just ask Harley-Davidson, Coke or Apple, especially when all of these brands lost their way and learned from it. Same thing applies to Brand You. In every tweak or a template, upload and keystroke, you have an opportunity to be authentic or disingenuous. Know what makes you special and unique, and tap into those qualities as you build your personal brand online. Most people can spot a fake when they see one, so remember that being genuine is more important that presenting yourself in an artificially glossy manner. It used to be important for bloggers to "find their voice" -- now it's relevant to all of us.
I think personal branding is a behavior we'll see for quite some time. Just take a look at how much time is being spent by kids on their own profiles—and of course, you don't have to be a kid to have your very own "brand" online. If you are attending the event, be sure to say "hello".