If you’ve known me for long enough, you might have realised that I’m all about some crazy thing called “personal branding”, it’s on the articles you find on my website, on my LinkedIn Page, on my course, and even on the title for my podcast.
And, because human beings are hardwired to look for patterns, this may have lead you see how the term is everywhere nowadays, hell, even Forbes is talking about how it’s going to be “the next big thing”.
That being said, when people hear about something becoming the next big thing, there is always that natural instinct to see that thing as a fad or a buzzword.
In fact, I’ve recently had an awesome discussion about this over on LinkedIn, and came out with some interesting takeaways I figured were worth sharing.
What’s Personal Branding Anyway?
No, really, what is it?
After all, if we’re going to be discussing the meaning of a word, we need to understand what people mean when they say it, right?
We can define personal branding as the ultimate combination of your experience, skills and personality, or better yet as the conscious and intentional way in which you promote these aspects of yourself, it is your story AND how you tell it to the world.
Think about it this way:
When you go on a date, you make an effort, you want them to like you, so you produce yourself in a way that makes you feel and look your best.
Same thing happens when you meet with a potential or existing client. You turn up and represent yourself in a way that will be favourable to your career or business.
That first impression that, not only your date, but everyone gets from meeting you, is your personal brand.
Your personal brand is what people say, think and feel about you. It’s a gut feeling!
Now, most people come into a dilemma, after all if our personal brand is based on who we are, which is in itself based on our life experiences, then personal branding just comes down to our personality, and in order to “build” it, we’d have to pretend to be something we’re not!
And that is precisely the point I try to make every time: You already have a personal brand, the people you’ve met in and out of work already have a concrete image in mind when they hear your name.
The difference is that you can build this image consciously or not, intentionally or not, intelligently, or not, and you will only be lying if you want to.
Just think about it. Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you never passed on the wrong image even if you didn’t mean to? Wouldn’t you like to avoid that in the future? That’s precisely what personal branding is for.
Your choice is to either be swept up by what the world thinks you need and want or to show up intentionally (online and offline) to forge a path that you actually want to take.
It’s Always Been There
So, in a sense, personal branding has always been there, people have always projected their personality and value outwards in their everyday life. In Ancient Egypt the baker that smiled as he greeted a customer and knew what to say sold more bread.
Lets fast-forward a couple of thousand years and look at someone like the golf champion Tiger Woods, his personal brand was so strong that he upped betting odds for America to 33% when he joined a tournament, and when he didn’t, they fell by 50%.
The same thing applies to someone like Michael Jordan, when people talk about him, they don’t just talk about his fame, they tell a story of a high school boy who wanted nothing more than to make it into the team, and trained himself into a legend.
And let’s not forget how much more we can charge for shoes with his name on them!
There is an endless list of examples we could take, but you can see how people have always been carefully crafting their personal image to reflect their values and all the things that made them who they were.
It’s Coming In Big
I’ve made a point to state in the introduction that even a huge magazine like Forbes is talking about how personal branding is going to be huge, and now that you know what I mean, I thought it was fair to share some data that shows just how much.
After all, people connect with people more than they ever would with a logo or a “faceless corporation” as one would have it, and you can see this made manifest in the fact that brand messages shared by employees get a whopping 561% more engagement!
With the source used above we can conclude that people are more interested in individuals that are in love with what they do and want to share than they are about a company that is trying to sell it product to them via the internet.
That’s not all, employees also tend to have ten times more followers than their companies and their content gets eight times more engagement than it would if it were shared on a company channel.
So, Is Personal Branding becoming a Buzzword?
I’d say no. But I might be a little biased since, once again, this is precisely my thing, but it is gaining traction, and I’m really happy about that.
Why? Because that means people are becoming more aware of the things that make them unique, their traits, their talents, their story, and better yet, they are learning how to let it shine so that other people can find them and be inspired to do the same.
Would you like to do that? If so, then why not sign up for my personal branding coaching program and learn how to channel every unique and awesome thing about you and use it to improve your life by becoming more and more like yourself?