- 1 What Is Personal Branding?
- 2 Why is (Personal) Branding So Important?
- 3 Who Are Some Prominent Examples of Personal Branding?
- 4 My Personal Tips on Branding
- 5 Where Can I Learn More About Branding?
What Is Personal Branding?
According to Wikipedia, “personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands”.
And what is a brand?
“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer.” – Wikipedia.
In life, your name is your personal brand. It distinguishes you from everyone else. And we all know it gets confusing at times when people have the same name.
The same thing goes for businesses. When you have a particular business and there are many other businesses doing the same thing, only their name distinguishes one business from another. And it’s the brand that the name carries that can make the difference between a customer choosing one business over the other.
I think of branding as what some name makes you think of. For example, if I think of hockey, I think Wayne Gretsky. When I think of burgers, I think of McDonald’s. When I think of Florida, I think of sunshine. These associations are in my mind because of branding.
Why is (Personal) Branding So Important?
When you’re an individual consultant, freelancer, or other type of business owner, your personal brand is super important if you really want to set yourself apart from all the others. And in this internet age, your competition is so much more than before. When you do a search for something, websites from all over the world can compete with yours.
If you’re in the service business for example, chances are, there are so many other people who can perform the same service as you. Maybe even better. Your brand can help attract and retain customers by imparting familiarity with them. When I started my new business just a month ago, I picked up two clients. They knew me already. But, it’s the brand I developed that made them come to me.
If you’re in the product business, chances are, there are other sellers who are selling the same product. Why should one buyer buy from you over another vendor when the product is the same? Your customer service, price, and convenience as a vendor will be key. And how you deliver on those consistently will form your brand.
Look at Amazon, they deliver on all three since you can buy most products from them at the same price or cheaper than elsewhere, you can usually read several reviews of your product, you can often get it in 1 or 2 days, and returning at item is super easy.
Amazon might be an example of corporate branding (as opposed to personal), but, it’s the branding that is important. When I want to buy a new Western Digital hard drive, for example, I know I could go to Canada Computers, BestBuy, or some other online store to get the same product, but the Amazon experience (their price, speed of delivery, and customer service) makes me go there first.
I feel like they’ve given me so much value and consistently, that many times, I either forgot or just don’t bother checking anywhere else.
Who Are Some Prominent Examples of Personal Branding?
Richard Branson is probably best known for Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines. That’s branding. I actually associate him now with Shark Tank, even though I’ve only seen him once on there.
Branson is known as an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He’s invested or founded in areas such as the hotels, space, rockets, phones, music, healthcare, and so many other areas.
When I think of Branson, I think of an incredible entrepreneur that can go into any business and make it succeed.
He’s used his brand to build multi-billion dollar companies.
One of his favourite branding quotes that he has written in an article and that I really like as well is:
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. — Warren Buffett
I think of Tony Robbins as the “relationship guy”. Although he’s branded himself to be more than that. That’s what I recall when I was growing up.
I’m sure people nowadays associate him more as a coach and speaker.
He’s an incredible motivational speaker and coach and has personally coached high-profile individuals such as Bill Clinton, Wayne Gretsky, and Serena Williams.
Robbins has been around at least since I was a teenager. That’s when I first remember him and still notice him once in a while today.
With his brand, he’s invested in businesses, built his own businesses, and donated to charities. He has businesses now with multi-billion dollar revenues.
Donald Trump may be the most controversial of “brands” right now, but, it wasn’t that way before he became President of the United States.
Prior to Trump becoming president, I am pretty sure we associated his name with real estate and the tv show, The Apprentice. Although now, I believe people associate Trump with many other things other than real estate which I won’t mention here 🙂
Despite his controversy, and good or bad, I don’t think we can deny he’s built a brand around his name.
Oprah is an example of a brand about talk shows. Superficially, I believe that’s what she is branded as because of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
But, anyone who reads up more about her knows she is much more than that. She’s a media titan and has a net worth of almost $3 billion dollars.
She’s the classic story of a child who ran away at a young age and overcame her adversities to become hugely successful.
When you read what she went through as a child and see what she has become today, it’s just stunning to say the least. Although I don’t believe money and fame should determine success as not everyone wants that, nonetheless, after reading up more on Oprah and particularly her childhood and seeing what she has become, I am awed to say the least.
Oprah has her own media company and she has a magazine, is a producer, actress, and philanthropist.
My Personal Tips on Branding
After doing a bit of research from some of the people above and from some articles from Inc Magazine and Huffington Post, I’ve come up with some of my personal branding tips and lessons that I’ve learned from my own experience over the years from both work and outside of work.
- Everyone has a personal brand because everyone has some type of opinion about you. How you have conducted yourself in the eyes of other people is the brand you’ve developed in those people’s eyes.
- Your brand can change, but, it’s hard. It’s hard to change people’s minds. Look at many actors and actresses, they are often “pigeon-holed” into particular acting roles and movie genres.
- Developing your brand takes time. Maybe months, but, more likely years.
- It’s possible to ruin your brand in minutes despite the years of work you’ve done to build it. But, don’t be afraid of doing things because you’re not good at it. I put out some LinkedIn videos in the last month and I know they’re pretty bad. I’m just not good at talking in front of a camera, or audience probably. But, I know I’ll get better through practice. And although watching them makes me cringe, it makes me want to improve so badly. And when you think about it, it’s those stories of people overcoming problems and adversities to become successful that just seems to resonate with audiences over and over.
Where Can I Learn More About Branding?
One great way to learn and immerse yourself in a new field is to go to a conference.
The largest personal branding conference in North America is held here in Toronto, Canada.
It’s called Discover Your Personal Brand and is founded and hosted by 5x TEDx inspirational speaker, and Inc Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers, Bobby Umar.
Link to Conference Info and Tickets: Discover Your Personal Brand
The 2018 conference is coming up on August 16, 2018.
LinkedIn Brand Specialists
I’ve also searched LinkedIn for some personal branding consultants and asked them 5 questions. Here are 3 branding specialists that have responded.