If your personal website is a channel for you to promote yourself, then your personal brand is the foundation and basis for the content you offer on this channel. So what is a personal brand and why does it matter?
A personal brand is your core identity; it is the personal and professional character you manifest, your style, your values, and the unique set of talents you present to the world. Once you know your personal brand, own it proudly and promote it. Your brand can connect you with other like-minded people and attract new opportunities into your life. The key with a personal brand is for it to be genuine and honest. Don’t confuse personal brand with personality– the world has plenty of personalities, some even run for president, but that’s a topic for another day.
A personal brand shouldn’t be confused with a corporate brand either, it’s not invented or derived through market research or some boardroom meeting. Many corporate brands are planned or preconceived, and that’s ok for a business. However, a personal brand is for people, it evolves naturally over time, and it’s important to understand. Regardless of how well you think you know yourself, if other people don’t perceive you the way you want to be perceived then there’s a disconnect in your reality. This can result in conflicts, missed opportunities, and misunderstandings. This problem can be solved however, by understanding and defining your personal brand, and making an effort to actively promote it.
Shama Hyder, Founder & CEO of The Marketing Zen Group provides several great action steps in building your personal brand, mentioned in this Forbes article titled 7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand.
To summarize, Shama encourages you to audit your online presence, secure a personal website, find ways to produce value. She speaks about being purposeful in what types of content you share online and to always think about its purpose and how it relates back to you. How does the content you share and your overall online presence define you? It’s also good to associate with other strong brands and people that have influence in your subject matters of interest.
Also, you may occasionally want to reinvent yourself or give your brand a refresh. This can be an annual thing or something done every 5 to 10 years, but personal brands evolve as they should. As humans we grow as we go through life– learning new things and having experiences that inspire and change us. This should be a celebrated fact of life and reflected in your personal brand. It can be healthy to reinvent yourself when appropriate. To stay modern and relevant requires evolving and adapting to changes in your environment, industry, and social structure.
If you would like to take a deeper dive into understanding personal brand building, check out Building a Personal Brand by Gary Vaynerchuk on Udemy!
Other resources that have been highly regarded on this subject include the books Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success and Impressions: The Power of Personal Branding in Living an Extraordinary Life.