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Personal Branding AwarenessPersonal Branding Awareness

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Below are some extracts from our Personal Branding Awareness manual.

What is Personal Branding? 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is famously quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The term “branding” used to be reserved for businesses, but with the advent of social sites and the gig economy, personal branding has become fundamental. A personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers. 

Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization. Whereas some self-help practices focus on self-improvement, personal branding defines success as a form of self-packaging. The term is thought to have originated from an article written by Tom Peters in 1997. In Be Your Own Brand, first published in 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak wrote: 'Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.' 

Individuals sometimes associate personal names or pseudonyms with their businesses. Notably, 45th President of the United States and real estate mogul Donald Trump uses his last name on properties and other enterprises (e.g. Trump Tower). Celebrities may also leverage their social status to support organizations for financial or social gain. For example Kim Kardashian endorses brands and products through her media influence. 

The relationship between brands and consumers is dynamic and must be constantly refined. This continuous process demonstrates the ambivalence of consumerism. A personal brand may make itself appealing to companies in order to reinforce its visibility and increase its chance of receiving a sponsorship. 

Personal brands may be deliberately modified to reinvent a public persona. This may be to recover from a public embarrassment, or to re-emerge from obscurity. The public perception of authenticity often determines the success of a rebranding. 

 

Why Personal Branding is more important than ever 

Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand. When you Google yourself, what pops up? These results are the first impression people will have of you. Is it a good one? Is the information you are sharing across LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites consistentWhether you have a date or a job interview, chances are someone is going to Google you to learn more about who you are. The question is, do you want to allow your online reputation to take on a life of its own or control the narrative? With the proliferation of social media and the gig economy, it has become essential for everyone to embrace personal branding. 

Why it’s more important than ever 

Whether you’re an employee or entrepreneur, cultivating a personal brand has become more important than ever. One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees. Personal branding is also beneficial from the employer’s perspective. Companies should encourage employees to build strong personal brands because it’s good business. When employees are allowed to represent their company at conferences or events, they are not only developing themselves but also providing the organization more exposure. Employees can help acquire new customers and retain existing ones when they are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders. Another reason personal branding is valuable is that the gig economy is not going away anytime soon. The average person switches jobs every 2 to 3 years, and by 2020, freelance and contract workers will make up 43% of the U.S. workforce. Diane Mulcahy, the author of The Gig Economy, says, 

As a result, workers need to be able to clearly communicate who they are and what they do to stand out to prospective clients and employers. If you aren’t effectively managing your online reputation, then you run the risk of losing out on business. 

 

Examples of personal branding masters 

Developing a great personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It's imperative to be able to communicate your purpose and mission to your audience in a genuine way. Here are some examples of famous people who have built incredible personal brands through hard work, consistency and a long-term focus: 

Oprah Winfrey: Oprah is undoubtedly the queen of personal branding. She is continually building equity in her brand which has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. Oprah has always stuck to her core competency: challenging millions of viewers to live the best lives possible by understanding their potential. By being true to herself, she has inspired millions to be their best selves. 

Richard Branson: Richard Branson is undeniably one of the most visible, successful, and well-known men alive. He has continually stayed true to his core values, including adventure and risk-taking. By being himself, he has often done exactly what other business leaders cautioned against, including crazy publicity stunts like dressing as a flight attendant for a competing airline. His unorthodox style and commitment to his passions have helped him create a powerful personal brand. Branson says, “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.” 

Marie Forleo: Marie Forleo is an inspiring teacher, writer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has mastered the ability to share impactful content in a humorous and engaging way. With a following in over 195 countries, Marie challenges her fans to change the way they live in order to change the world. Her website reflects that of a personal branding expert, highlighting her authenticity and passion for helping others. 

 

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