The Gollum Guide To Personal Branding

personal branding

Gollum, also known as Sméagol, and obsessed with the ring in in the Lord of the Rings, is most often thought of as a small slimy creature, mostly evoking disgust among characters he’s in contact with.

Looking a bit closer, Gollum is not an entirely one-dimensional character. He’s definitely more multi-facetted than many of the other characters in the epic story. He’s more real, more human than most and there’s actually a few things you can learn from Gollum when it comes to personal branding.

personal branding

1. Be human

Gollum is really a real character. He does not only evoke a single emotional response such as for example identification, annoyance, pity, disgust, fear, suspicion or hate. He evokes a full-spectrum response that involves all those feelings and more.

Often, people strive to show off an almost flawless existence, both off- and online. But if you want to be heard online, if you want to stand out, there’s no such thing as being perfect. To be credible online, you must show your unique personality: your story, your quirks and your thoughts. Everything that makes you the one you are. Talk about your own experiences and your own struggles. Tell people your story. They will love you for being a person with shortcomings like everyone else. No one is perfect, but being yourself will make you perfectly you. And people like that. You will notice that they’ll listen to you more when you’ve found your own voice.

2. Identify your precious

personal branding

When positioning yourself, it’s definitely an advantage if you have a clear focus, a goal or achievement that you’re striving for. As obsessed with the ring, Gollum never loses sight of his objective, and for your personal branding you shouldn’t either. If it’s to land a certain job at a certain company, (as Matthew Epstein in his video resume) or as my personal mission with this blog: determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate, you should definitely go all in. People will remember you for your passion. Just as the ring keeps Gollum going, so will your precious too.

3. Find your own way

There’s something very creative about Gollum, if you look at his ability to travel fast, widely and on ways no-one ever traveled before. Gollum is a natural when it comes to finding his own way. It makes him unique, with a special ability, very useful in the surroundings he’s operating in. By finding your own way of doing something that sets you apart from other people in your field of expertise, you’ll stand out and make yourself known for being highly creative.

4. Be curious

personal branding

Essential for the ability to develop your creativity, is to be curious. Gollum was the most curious-minded of his community, and he got his name because he was interested in roots, deep pools, plants and mounds.

A curious mind are always on the hunt for new experiences and for trying out new tools or processes. A curious mind has the possibility to be really innovative and is always a valuable asset for clients and employers. Develop the curious side of yourself and craft it into your personal branding activities. Make clear to everyone that you’re an active individual, constantly looking for new improvements. Just as Gollum could spot and catch fish in almost any level of light and waters, make yourself known for finding the gems, wherever there are any.

5. Stick to your objectives

When you’ve identified your precious, your reason, you need to stick to it with a supernatural strength, just like Gollum does. Consequence is very important when it comes to personal branding. People need to be able to label you and to understand what you stand for. Even influence scores, like Kred or Klout, are based on how consistent you are influencing a certain topic.

6. Write your bio in third person

personal branding

Gollum speaks in an outlandish manner, often referring to himself in the third person. That’s just perfect when writing your bio. Embrace your inner Gollum, and get some inspiration from these bios. But remember the importance of speaking with your own genuine voice.

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About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at

One Response to The Gollum Guide To Personal Branding

  1. Word Ninja says:

    Just love this post. I’ve heard both sides (ha!) of the third vs. first person decision on how to write the bio. Probably should change mine. Great point on #2.

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