On the tension of PERSONAL BRANDS:

There’s a real tension here: Do you bring your whole self to work?

  • How can we be authentic without sharing TMI (too much information)?
  • How can we be transparent without appearing unprofessional?


authenticity tension
image: Unsplash @ loicleray

Read on to learn:

  • why navigating this authenticity-TMI tension might be easier for advertisers
  • how code-switching and filtering can help
  • two LinkedIn “good news” stories!



For this week’s podcast on PERSONAL BRANDING, AUTHENTICITY & T.M.I., I interviewed advertising creative director & messaging strategist Tom Megginson

Based on his experience as an advertising copywriter and research on consumer demographics and psychographics, Tom provides many inspiring insights. First and foremost, we need to consider our audience

With whom are you communicating?

It turns out this “focus on the audience” advice might be easier for advertisers, who do that in their jobs every day:

Tom Megginson quote authenticity and personal branding
I definitely enjoyed my conversation with Tom Megginson, as you’ll hear in the podcast! Tom provides helpful advice to help us navigate this tension between transparency and being professional, including:
  • the focus group analogy (“Your personal brand is what they say when the moderator leaves the focus group oom…”)
  • how product branding and personal branding have come full circle
  • a new word for me: exaptation
  • how code-switching and filtering can help (see below…)
Tom Megginson talks authenticity and personal branding
Thank you, Tom!
Click HERE to listen directly on the Talk About Talk website


?  Click HERE to listen on your favourite podcast player


?  Click HERE to read the printable shownotes


Enjoy the podcast!


How CODE-SWITCHING and FILTERING Can Help with this Tension

We CODE-SWITCH automatically! 

  • In a professional context, we talk with our boss differently than we talk with a client. Personally, we talk with our parents differently than we talk with our kids.
  • Code-switching means considering the topics we discuss, the formality of our communication, and even the medium.


ok boomer
image: Unsplash @ lucarinigiac

We CODE-SWITCH across generations.

  • Based on demographic and psychographic research, there are stereotypes associated with the various generational cohorts:
    • the formal Silent Generation
    • the cooler but conformist Baby Boomers
    • the cynical Gen X’rs
    • the protected Millennials
    • the inspiration- and validation-seeking Gen Zs. 
  • There’s no right or wrong culture. In fact, the younger generations are affecting all of us in positive ways, like encouraging us to talk openly about some critical, previously taboo topics, such as mental health.


code-switching across generations
image: Unsplash @ bostonpubliclibrary

We CODE-SWITCH across media.

  • Older folks may prefer the phone or face to face. Younger folks might prefer some media that I haven’t even heard of! 
  • We code switch depending on which social media platform we’re on.  We share different things on LinkedIn versus what we share on TikTok.  (Of course!)


filtering our personal brand
image: Unsplash @ natedumlao

We FILTER what parts of our authentic self we choose to share.

  • We’re not changing who we are, we’re filtering what part of us to share!
  • TMI (TOO MUCH Information) is a misnomer. It’s not about quantity, it’s about the substance or the content of the information. 
  • Tom reminds us that we can mend our filter.  When we speak out of turn, when we realize we said something we shouldn’t have, we can mend that filter.  


Two “Good News” LinkedIn Stories!

First: How I met Tom Megginson. 

We met on LinkedIn! Tom posted a very insightful comment on one of my personal branding posts.  So I went to his LinkedIn profile and … I was impressed!

Tom Megginson LinkedIn

Tom’s gets full points for the 3 most important elements in our LinkedIn Profiles

  1. Your Headshot – Tom Megginson’s headshot is professional, yet creative.  (Perfect!) 
  2. Your Title – Tom Megginson’s title is “Creative Director, messaging strategist, and seasoned storyteller, Freelance consultant.” (This is the guy we need to talk to!)
  3. Your Background Image – Tom Megginson’s background is the autographed corner of a print ad he created for the Jane Goodall Institute, with the caption “Cousin, we need to talk.” (“TALK?” I was intrigued!)

This connection with Tom Megginson is the up-side of LinkedIn.  But there’s more…


Second – just 3 words. 

A few weeks ago I read about then Tokyo Olympics head Yoshiri Mori making derogatory, sexist and FALSE statements about women’s communication styles.  Particularly that if women’s “…speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.”

Research shows that is not true.

Andrea Wojnicki LinkedIn Yoshiro Mori story

What is true?

  • Yoshiro Mori used 38 words. I used 3: “Do the research.”
  • My LinkedIn post has received more views than any of my previous posts. (currently at >22,000!)
  • Yoshiro Mori was finally forced to resign following the international uproar in the media and on social media!

For good reason, social media can sometimes get a bad rap.  But sometimes social media can be a force for good – like connecting with folks such as Tom Megginson, and like when it amplifies outcry against discrimination!

I leave you with that.

forward this email to anyone who might appreciate some advice on personal branding and communication skillsThank you!  

Have a great week.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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