What is personal branding?

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about personal branding.  What is personal branding?  Wikipedia gives a great description:

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.[1] While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.[1] Personal branding also involves creating an asset by defining an individual’s body, clothing, physical appearance, digital and online presence and areas of knowledge in a way leading to a uniquely distinguishable, and ideally memorable, impression.[citation needed] The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters.[2]

Personal Branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organization.[3] Personal branding can often involves the application of one’s name to various products. For example, the celebrity real-estate mogul Donald Trump uses his last name extensively on his buildings and on the products he endorses (e.g. Trump Steaks).

It’s a funny sort of concept.  I mean, you are who you are.  But personal branding takes “you” to another level.  It means taking who you are and putting it out there in the universe in a strategic and intentional way.

I preach to my husband all the time about his personal branding.  As a golf professional, his professional success comes largely from his reputation as a golf player and instructor.  Yet, I myself struggle to practice what I preach.  Golf is not just Michael’s professional life, it’s his personal life too.  The Golf Channel is on at our home 24/7, he loves to play golf with his family and friends, and he truly enjoys teaching and inspiring people through golf.  His personal brand has a clear focus and is easy to identify and built upon.

I, on the other hand, consider myself a “jack of all trades, but master of none.”  So what is my personal brand supposed to be?  Social websites ask us this all the time.  Instagram and Twitter ask you to include a few words about yourself for your profile.  LinkedIn asks for your headline.  Ivanka Trump has a great personal brand:

ivanka trump on twitter

I ask Dr. Google, “What is my personal brand supposed to be?” and a few articles about how to create a personal brand come, including this article from Forbes.  It outlines the first steps to building your personal brand:

  1. Determine your emotional appeal.
  2. Determine your description.
  3. Determine your function.
  4. Put it all together.

 These are the questions I will be thinking about and discussing with my husband (he doesn’t know it yet) during our 3 hour drive to Ocean City, Maryland tomorrow for our first family vacation.  In the meantime, I have started to re-vamp my website to take a more personal approach.  Check back in a week or two and hopefully you’ll see a “brand new” me.

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