Penelope Trunk’s Interesting Personal Branding Strategy

What is the first thing you think of when I say Penelope Trunk?

A very interesting article by Fast Company points out the obvious, yet interesting, personal branding strategy of Gen Y career “expert” and founder of, Penelope Trunk.

If you’ve ever read Penelope’s personal blog you can find out just about every detail of her personal life, including her abortions and divorce.

I get that she’s branding herself as “BRAZEN,” but honestly what is her strategy here? From a business perspective, it’s hard for me to understand why she would want to talk about her Brazilian wax on Twitter one minute, then turn around and tell people in her “About Brazen Careerist” comments that everything they do online becomes an important part of their career.

Penelope Trunk is a smart and successful entrepreneur.  In fact, I respect her career, I love her entrepreneurial spirit, I’m a huge fan of and- although occasionally painful to read- I subscribe to her blog as well. Therefore, I’m assuming her choice of contradicting her own advice is intentional but I just can’t figure it out.  What do you think?  If it is intentional, what is her goal or purpose?

Despite the public details of her personal life, companies continue to pay her a lot of money to consult with them on career issues.  Is this the kind of person we want representing Gen Y?  Is this what Gen Y is? A “share-all-and-still-expect-to-be-paid-a-lot-of-money” kind of generation?

Why do you think Penelope Trunk has chosen this personal branding strategy for her own career?  Should Gen Y and beyond listen to someone who contradicts her own advice?

Penelope and Dan Schawbel– I hope you can give us your feedback too!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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