If I were one of my grandparents living today, I would be confused about all this talk of personal brands. Sure companies and their products and services have brands, but now people do too? What is it after all?
A personal brand is a conscious effort to create and influence public perception. Someone intentionally positions themself as an authority. Why do it?
It elevates your credibility. With this intentionality, you differentiate yourself from others. There isn’t a ceiling for the benefits it can create. They advance your career and increase the circle of influence to create a larger impact.
Personal brands weren’t a concept before 1997. In Be Your Own Brand the 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.”
We live in a world today where you have to sell yourself. This didn’t originally sit well with me. It feels icky. Why would I want to be a salesperson? I didn’t sign up for that role.
Without consciously realizing it, this was given to each of us. The moment we started to figure out who we are and the experiences we want to have. The choices we make showcase what we vote for. One option of a job to pursue over another is a decision that dictates what we stand for. Whether aware of it or not, brands matter.
The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness. To build a reputation on the things you want to be known for and be remembered for them. The ultimate goal is to convey a cohesive message that can create a profit.
How are brands created?
Storytelling + Core values = Brand
They are the legacy that shares our stories for us after we leave. Whether intentional about the brand or not, they matter. They showcase our quality of life and where we engage our time and attention.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” -Seth Godin
After all, you’re not selling the product, you’re selling the idea and its story. When someone chooses to invest resources in you they are also buying into the public persona of your personal brand.