What is Personal Branding and Why It Is Important Now?

by Eric Tsai

Simply put, a brand is the ‘unique’ collective experience and information people remember.

Coke is a brand not only because you recognize it as an icon for soda, but because you’re familiar with its commercials, advertising, logos, designs, colors, taste, and yes, the sizzling sound.

Branding is the process of achieving brand impression.

personalbranding02Branding helps people to identify a distinctive characteristic which allows them to retain the experiences from their engagement with the brand. The goal of branding is to stimulate prospective customers and help them to identify with the brand as the main reference or the “go to” solution to a problem.

Brands create audiences and evoke emotions.  They motivate new behaviors and build reputations. Ultimately it’s how brands differentiate and influence the perception of value that determines the brand equity – its true value.

It is simple to identify brands. They are the shoes you wear, the car you drive, the restaurant you eat at and the cell phone you use. You decided to go with a brand because you thought it demonstrated value for you.

A brand can be a company, product, service or a person. It’s about standing out in the crowded space of their respected categories – become the Apple-like buzz or the Obama-like craze.


The Power of Personal Branding Today

In recent years the term “personal branding” has taken on a whole new meaning.

Similar to business or product branding, personal branding is simply you and everything associated with your career and achievements. You are the distinctive brand that people engage with, recognize and form opinions on. Your email address, website url, and social network user names are all part of your brand today.

A strong personal brand can single handedly put a company’s name on the map. Think about celebrity endorsements: Oprah can instantly sell your book simply by recommending it. Richard Brandson made Virgin Group popular through the fascinating story of his life and entrepreneurship. They are the powerful brand because they act like their credible leaders.


Why It Is Important …How can I differentiate?

personalbranding01Personal brands connect the perception of your fame and glory to your audiences. They create visibility, trust and loyalty with transparency and clarity for the audiences. They’re subjective perceptions but that’s the whole idea, just like an election – the goal is to earn those votes from people around you regardless of how much they know of you.

Personal branding is more important today than ever as skills and knowledge become ubiquitous–especially in a recession when perception of value is shifting in anticipation of delivering more with less.

It is also the time when brands shuttle up and down fighting to reposition their place in the market. It’s simple: if you are a powerful brand, you will get more leverage. More leverage means more opportunities. Opportunities to generate more wealth than you thought possible, opportunities to get jobs where you couldn’t before, opportunities to network and meet other celebrity-like leaders in your niche.

So how do you become a powerful personal brand?

Start now if you haven’t already.  Here are 7 tips to help differentiate your brand:

  1. Network, network, network – it’s who knows you…not who you know
  2. Help others to succeed.  Leave your mark at whatever it is that you do
  3. Become an expert at something that has high value and stay focused
  4. Have a vision, be a leader, a mentor, an entrepreneur
  5. Treat it like a business.  Be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes
  6. Continue to educate yourself and build up your source of knowledge
  7. Market yourself.  Build a platform for your audiences and be visible

There is no single path to success for personal branding.  It’s a combination of all the above. You are in charge of your brand. You just have to start building your name as a brand today. This is your opportunity to emerge as the new brand that people look up to and take place of those that fade!

Simply put, your personal branding plan is your growth strategy to become the brand new brand:  “YOU.”

Share your personal branding strategies, what worked and what didn’t? What marketing tools do you use? Add your comments here.

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