What Is a Personal Brand? It’s Not What You Think

What Is a Personal Brand? It’s Not What You Think

What Is a Personal Brand? It’s Not What You Think

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You’ve probably heard the term “personal brand” thrown around more times than you’ve had hot dinners. But what is a personal brand, really? Is it just another buzzword that marketing gurus use to sound important, or is there something more to it?

Let me tell you, as someone who’s been in the trenches of digital marketing for years, personal branding is a lot more complex – and a lot more important – than most people realise. And by the end of this article, I’m going to tell you something about personal branding that might just blow your mind. But we’ll get to that later.

First, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what a personal brand actually is, why it matters, and why you’re probably doing it all wrong.

What Is A Personal Brand? It'S Not What You Think What Is A Personal Brand

What Is a Personal Brand?

Here’s the thing: most people think a personal brand is all about self-promotion. They think it’s about plastering their face all over social media, humble-bragging about their achievements, and generally making themselves look as awesome as possible.

But here’s where it gets interesting: that approach is not only ineffective, it’s actually counterproductive.

A personal brand isn’t about you at all. It’s about your audience.

Let that sink in for a moment. It’s a bit like saying a company’s brand isn’t about the company – it’s about the customers. And guess what? That’s true, too.

Your personal brand is the unique value you offer to your audience. It’s the problems you solve, the insights you provide, and how you make people feel when interacting with you or your content.

The Personal Brand Paradox

Now, here’s where things get a bit paradoxical. While your personal brand isn’t about you, it is deeply personal. It reflects your unique experiences, skills, and perspectives. It’s the lens through which you view the world and the unique value you bring to the table.

This is why authenticity is crucial in personal branding. People can smell inauthenticity from a mile away. And in today’s digital age, where we’re bombarded with carefully curated social media feeds and polished online personas, authenticity stands out like a sore thumb—in a good way.

The Three Pillars of a Strong Personal Brand

At CJ&CO, we’ve worked with countless clients to help them build and refine their personal brands. Through this experience, we’ve identified three key pillars that form the foundation of a strong personal brand:

  • Expertise: What do you know better than anyone else? What unique insights can you offer?
  • Authenticity: How do you present your true self in a way that resonates with your audience?
  • Consistency: How do you maintain a coherent message and image across all platforms and interactions?

Let’s break these down a bit further.

Expertise: It’s Not What You Know, It’s How You Apply It

Having expertise doesn’t mean you need to be the world’s leading authority on a subject. It means you have a unique perspective or approach that adds value to your audience.

For example, at CJ&CO, we’re not just experts in digital marketing but in applying cutting-edge AI and data science to digital marketing strategies. That’s our unique angle, and it’s a key part of our brand.

Authenticity: The Art of Being Yourself (But Better)

Authenticity doesn’t mean sharing every detail of your life or being brutally honest to the point of rudeness. It means presenting a genuine version of yourself that aligns with your brand values and resonates with your audience.

Think of it this way: you’re still you, but you’re the best version of yourself—the version that your audience needs and wants to see.

Consistency: The Glue That Holds It All Together

Consistency in personal branding isn’t about being boring or predictable. It’s about creating a coherent narrative your audience can follow and relate to.

It means maintaining a consistent tone, message, and visual identity across all your platforms and interactions. It’s about building trust through reliability and familiarity.

The Personal Brand Mistake You’re Probably Making

Now, here’s where I see a lot of people go wrong with personal branding: they try to appeal to everyone.

They water down their message, soften their opinions, and generally try to be as inoffensive as possible to attract the widest audience.

But here’s the kicker: a brand that appeals to everyone appeals to no one.

The most powerful personal brands are polarising. They have strong opinions, are not afraid to ruffle a few feathers and stand for something.

It doesn’t mean being controversial for the sake of it. It means having the courage to stand by your convictions and express your unique perspective, even if it means some people won’t like you.

The Future of Personal Branding

As we look to the future, personal branding will only become more important. In an increasingly digital world, where remote work is becoming the norm and people interact more online than in person, your personal brand is often the first (and sometimes only) impression people have of you.

But here’s where it gets really interesting: the future of personal branding isn’t just about individuals. It’s about the intersection of personal and corporate branding.

At CJ&CO, we’re seeing a trend where companies are encouraging their employees to develop strong personal brands. Why? Because they recognise that employees with strong personal brands can significantly amplify the company’s message and reach.

This is leading to a new paradigm in which personal and corporate brands are becoming increasingly intertwined. It’s no longer just about what you as an individual bring to the table but how your personal brand aligns with and enhances your company’s brand.

The Mind-Blowing Truth About Personal Branding

Remember how I promised to tell you something mind-blowing about personal branding? Well, here it is:

Your personal brand exists whether you actively cultivate it or not.

Every interaction you have, the piece of content you share, and the opinion you express contributes to your brand. The question isn’t whether you have a personal brand but whether you control it.

So, what is a personal brand? It’s the story you tell about yourself, intentionally or unintentionally. It’s the value you provide to others. It’s the unique perspective you bring to your field.

But most importantly, it’s an opportunity to define how you want to be perceived, attract the right opportunities, and make a lasting impact in your field.

The question is, are you going to seize that opportunity?

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I create a personal brand?

To create a personal brand:
– Set clear goals for what you want to be known for
– Audit your existing online presence
– Develop a consistent strategy for showcasing your identity
– Regularly share content and engage with your audience on relevant platforms

Is personal branding authentic?

Yes, good personal branding is authentic. It’s about identifying and highlighting your best self in the context of your professional goals, not pretending to be someone you’re not.

Can I build my personal brand on my own?

While you can start working on your personal brand yourself, working with an expert can help you develop a clear strategy to define and communicate your brand effectively, especially if you’re aiming for specific outcomes.

Konger Avatar
3 weeks ago

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*The information this blog provides is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. The information may not reflect current developments and may be changed or updated without notice. Any opinions expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s employer or any other organization. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this blog without first seeking the advice of a professional. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this blog. The author and affiliated parties assume no liability for any errors or omissions.