Recently I got into something of a debate about whether personal branding really exists or whether it’s just reputation. I don’t think I really did the debate justice because at the time I was a little fixated on allowing GrowTraffic’s employees more personalisation of our branded elements and began to go off on a tangent, and that probably eroded the credibility of my original argument. So here we go. Let’s dive into branding, personal branding, personality and reputation.
What Is A Brand?
This is a good place to start. It’s not really clear cut as to what a brand is. Some people see it as a logo and colour pallet. Some may talk about the tone of voice and the brand story. If you’re lucky, you’ll be talking about the corporate culture of an organisation as well. But for me, everything a business does is about brand.
Traditionally a brand is defined as a cumulative perception based on every touchpoint a customer or potential customer has with an organisation, product or service. In the internet age, increasingly we’re talking about personal branding so the definition is extended not only to include organisations, products and services but also individuals.
What Is Brand Management?
Brand management is a dedicated function of marketing. Brand managers aim to strategically tailor a brand to better fit the brand to the business and to their target audience, whilst generating the maximum brand value.
What Is Personal Branding All About?
The first thing to say about personal branding is it’s about promoting people. With personal brand management, a concerted and often strategic effort is made to develop and maintain the way that people perceive an individual.
Most often this is done by positioning an individual as an expert in their industry. This is done by increasing their visibility and credibility, whilst also honing in on ways to differentiate them from other experts in their fields.
Ultimately, personal brand management aims to increase the earning capacity of an individual or add a new layer to compliment a corporate brand, either in the public’s eyes or in the eyes of investors.
What’s The Difference Between Personality And Personal Branding?
All personal brands must show some part of your personality. That’s because it’s got to feel authentic when people meet you and because your personality is a part of what differentiates you from those other authorities in your industry.
But who wants to give everything away? After all, there are some dark parts of all of our personalities we try to lock away from the world as much as we can.
When it comes to the branding process, your personality is similar to the culture of a business. There are things to highlight and things to work on. It’s something that ebbs and flows over times and changes with interaction. It, therefore, needs to be regularly reassessed.
Isn’t Personal Branding Just Reputation?
We’re all familiar with the concept of reputation. It’s all about the he said, she said bullshit, to quote branding experts Limp Bizkit. OK maybe they’re not branding experts per se, but you get my point. Reputation is part of the perception of the brand, but it’s not everything because reputation isn’t gained via direct interaction it’s gained through third parties.
Reputation is driven by other people. It could be the way your friends talk about a brand or the way the media portrays a brand.
How many times have you met someone and thought: “you aren’t at all what I expected.” That right there is the difference between reputation and your perception being altered by your interaction with a person. It’s the same with a corporate brand and it’s the same with a personal brand.
Defining Personal Branding
Personal branding is a concerted effort to strategically manipulate the way specific people perceive a person, and is determined by the way a person portrays themselves either in person or online and the things others say about them.