A couple of singers and song-writers, a few musicians, a doctor, a model, a security consultant, a motivational speaker, a stand-up comedian and a politician were among those we questioned, all of whom were at varying stages of building their personal brand. The question: What is a personal brand? In essence, what are you building? While some dodged around the edges or cooked up a quick fix, most missed the mark (not saying there weren't impromptu answers we were satisfied with).
Predictably, most defined a personal brand as an identity, logo, persona, product, skill, name or title. While many would think of it as an obvious question with a straightforward answer, you’d be surprised at the rampant universal misconception which in many instances lead to the complete or partial failure of budding personal brands. Hence, the vital tip for those building or looking at building a personal brand; have an accurate definition of your personal brand and align your goals accordingly!
An identity, logo, persona, product, skill, name or title are distinct representations or expressions of a personal brand. Though such brand representations and expressions are vital assets of a personal branding effort (the initiatives taken to position an individual as an authority in their respective industry and thereby influence public perception), they are not in themselves ‘the personal brand’. Simply put, they are the blocks that help build the brand.
We would like to define a personal brand as the reputation being created and impression being instilled in the public conscious through the collective result of all personal branding efforts. How does an audience perceive you as a performer, a patient perceive you as a doctor, a client perceive you as a consultant and the public perceive you as a politician? This is your personal brand.
Now that we’ve defined ‘personal brand’, how do you get started? Firstly, visualize the ‘ultimate future you’ and the consequential public perception of this ideal mental picture (penning down keywords and attributes can help). Once you have your future ‘fame’ accurately and sensibly ‘pictured’, work backwards from that reputation you want to build for yourself. Create a roadmap and establish strategic, quantifiable and progressive milestones you need to work towards in order to reach the ‘ultimate future you’. While you put in the hard work and hustle to earn the reputation, get help with corresponding branding efforts that’ll expedite and empower the pursuit of your dream.
Branding related further reading: 'Custom Packaging for Small Business' by DesignRush.