Searching the web today, you will find many different definitions of what a personal brand is; but, most definitions tend to blend the concept of a “personal brand” with the process of “personal branding”.
Although the terms seem similar, they are quite different. But, for some reason people seem to commonly use them interchangeably. A “personal brand” and “personal branding” are two distinctly different concepts. One is an objective, and the other is the strategy or the process to achieve the objective. See both definitions here.
The Official Definition of a Personal Brand:
A personal brand is a widely-recognized, largely-uniform perception of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Your reputation precedes you.”
That is the essence of a personal brand.
The term “Personal Brand” has become a buzzword growing in popularity over the past couple of years, but, it’s actually not as new of a concept you might think.
The concept has been written about for hundreds of years, but the actual term “Personal Brand”, and the concept as we know it today, gained traction and in popularity during the late 1990’s. The core essence of a personal brand has arguably remained the same, but, the process, means, and ability to create a personal brand have changed dramatically with the evolution of technology.
What we now commonly call a “personal brand”, we once referred to as our “reputation” for centuries. We believe this was mainly due to the fact that the concept and practice of “Branding” was something that was very expensive, and particularly only associated with corporate marketing and ad agencies.
The concept of a “Personal Brand” had a slightly different meaning prior to early 2000’s. It mainly applied to movie-stars, famous athletes, music icons, and talk-show hosts. These individuals were both great at what they did, and had a distribution channel closely-tied to their work that made them well-known. For example: Oprah, Larry King, Elvis, Michael Jordan, etc. Each of those icons were both great at something, and had a platform (Radio, Television, Stadium, etc.) that made them widely known for it.
Those two things – expertise and platform – are two essential ingredients to establishing any personal brand.
The emergence of the internet and other advancements in technology like social media, smart-phones, video & audio recording, etc., has made building a personal brand into something that each and every one of us can create. Today, we can share our expertise and can build our own platform with little to no money.
A personal brand is no longer something something that only celebrities, TV personalities, and sports-stars can leverage.
Entrepreneurs, Executives, and Employees can start, build, and grow their own personal brand to increase their income, accelerate accomplishments, and have a bigger impact.
A key ingredient to a successful, sustainable personal brand, is authenticity.
A fabricated personal brand, built upon false pretenses, (ex: knowledge, skills, experience, expertise, and accomplishments) will be short-lived.
A quality personal brand is simply a structured and intentional presentation of who you actually are, not some archetype of who you think people want you to be.
A great personal brand should make a powerful, positive, and accurate impression on others before they ever meet you. Simply put, your personal brand should precede you.
The key do creating that impression is focus your personal brand, and consciously craft your personal brand messaging.
A personal brand isn’t what you say about yourself, it’s what others say about you.
Have you ever been introduced by someone who totally failed at communicating who you are and what you do in a powerful way?
How awesome would it be if every time you were introduced, it was a powerful introduction?
Your personal brand should provide people with the language to create a powerful introduction. A focused, concise personal brand message will effortlessly spoon-feed your customers, clients, friends, and partners, with optimized statements and phrases they will use when speaking about who you are and what you do.
You do this by first creating consistency and power behind how you personally talk about who you are, and what you do.