What is Personal Branding and Why Is It Important?

What is personal branding and why is it important?

A brand, in the simplest terms, is a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. There are huge name brands that the whole world finds instantly recognizable such as McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola or Starbucks.  What makes these brands stand out is a guaranteed experience and value every single time you come across them, no matter where in the world you may be. The components that go into that experience are not so simple. A brand profile, as described below, can help you understand how you can apply this kind of recognizable power to your own personal brand.

But what exactly is personal branding and why should you care?

Personal branding refers to the act of an individual, group or organization marketing themself as a brand would. Personal branding gained recognition during the late 1990s with the rise of the Internet and has had even more traction since social media became prevalent in business more than 10 years later. In fact, it is now nearly impossible to not have some type of personal brand image online whether intentional or not.  The reality is, most likely anyone can find out detailed information about you through online searches. The question is, are potential clients or employers finding you putting your best foot forward online or not?

But the good news is, as personal brand thought leader Tom Peters says, “Everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.”

A personal brand profile essentially consists of the following:

·      Mission

·      Vision

·      Needs

·      Values

·      Interests and Passions

·      Strengths

·      Personal Descriptors

·      Goals

·      Target Audience

·      Differentiation

·      Unique Promise of Value

·      Personal Brand Statement

·      Your Brand Promise

Just as with a traditional brand, personal branding requires you to find a signature image, a unique voice, and a recognizable standard that your readers, fans, and customers can grow to recognize. Having a clear, authentic story that resonates with your target audience is also essential. Your personal brand is a matter of substance: what you do and how well you do it. But it's also a matter of style: how and why you do it.

So, why is understanding and intentionally building your personal brand so important?

By clearly defining and building your personal brand you efficiently help others in understanding exactly what you do or what you stand for; you end up helping more people in less time and effectively make a bigger difference and most likely a higher salary. But in order to do that you must allow people to see the authentic you and you must work diligently to master your craft and build confidence in yourself. People want to do business or work with a person not a business. People relate with real people not corporations with bottom lines and projected sales.  Your personal brand helps others understand exactly who you are as a person and should resonate deeply with your targeted audience. As a brand, you've got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you're proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

Your personal brand acts as a filter to help you make decisions that are congruent with who you are and what you stand for.  Understanding and building your personal brand not only helps others deeply understand you but it also helps you understand your own needs, your own values and who exactly your ideal client or employer is so you can filter out what doesn’t fit. Your personal brand profile and strategy is your compass on your path to success.

Intentionally building your personal brand is not shameless self-promotion. It is a leadership requirement and that requirement is getting more important everyday. It is not about simply portraying yourself in a positive light, it is about being that light and effectively communicating what you do so that more people in your niche are served by your gifts and talents. 

Here are a few thought provoking questions to gain more clarity on your personal brand:

1.     What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? 

2.     What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?

3.     What do I do that I am most proud of?

I would love to hear your answers. Leave me a comment here with your insights! To learn the exact steps to creating an irresistible personal brand download my Abundant Brand Checklist below.