Celebrities, politicians and others have long built personal brands. What is relatively new is the idea that anyone can and should build a personal brand.
The chart below shows the rapid growth in the annual number of Google references for the search term "personal brand."
Another indicator that personal branding has entered the mainstream is the Today Show's two day series on personal branding, featuring branding expert Martin Lindstrom (videos of the Today Show segments can be found down the page a bit).
The Today Show is a lagging trend indicator - meaning Today Show producers are most interested in content with mass appeal, so they tend to feature things entering or already in the mainstream.
Not surprisingly, the growth of personal branding coincides with the growth of social media. While personal branding was possible prior to social media, it was much, much harder.
If you want to learn more about developing a personal brand, The Personal Branding blog is my favorite on this topic.
For the second day in a row I'm building on a post from Franz Dill's insightful Eponymous Pickle blog, which is focused on the discovery and application of emerging technology.