There is a lot of discussion about Personal Branding and Personal Brands right now, and more and more persons are self-proclaimed personal brand experts. I used to be one of these persons as well, when I started working with personal brands. Now I have developed a method for working with it and have been recognized internationally for my efforts, so I have a lot of thoughts and insights about personal brands that I would like to share with you here.
Your Personal Brand is divided into two parts, your Personal Brand Image and your Personal Brand Identity, where the Personal Brand Image is how your peers perceive you and your identity, personality, values, skills, and abilities. Everyone has this part of the Personal Brand, without it no one would even know that you exists, and hence not be able to evaluate you as a good or bad friend, co-worker etc.
These expressions are used to describe your Professional Personal Brand, and should not be confused with CV-boosting, exaggerating your abilities or claiming to be someone that you are not. Most persons talking about personal brands and personal branding is actually talking about this, and I believe that this is a very shallow approach which has made a lot of persons skeptical to “Personal Brand / Personal Branding”.
Personal Branding is about being in control over the two parts of the Personal Brand so that your Brand Image is consistent with you Brand Identity. Personal Branding describes the process by which individuals differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then communicating it across platforms and situations in a consistent way. This is a lot about psychology and marketing, in what way should you communicate to be seen as a great mom or a trustworthy business partner? You have different roles that require different communication in different situations. Sounds complicated, but if you have identified your core values and articulated what you stand for, most will come naturally and the rest is practice.
To add a profile to Facebook, twitter, Hi5, LinkedIn, XING or whatever social networking site you are using, is not personal branding. These are tools used to communicate with a broad audience in a quite impersonal manner (only 7 % of human communication is words, so you miss 93 % of the tools in comparison to meeting someone). I do not say that you shouldn´t use these tools to market yourself, but it is rather marketing of you than building your brand. (if you do not know the difference, google “marketing versus branding” for some great posts about the two).
The Rynge Group