If you googled “Personal Branding,” you might get a definition like this:
“Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.”
This is a nice definition. But it doesn’t come close to telling you what it really is and how it can affect your relationships, career, and reputation.
Let’s look at another definition...
“Personal branding is the ongoing process of creating, establishing and communicating a clear statement of image of who you are to others.”
I like this definition for two reasons.
1. Because it talks about the “ongoing process.” Meaning it's not something you accomplish and check off your list. It's not something that you achieve and it's done. It's ongoing. It looks different for each person. It doesn’t have a due date. How freeing and encouraging is that?! YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT!
2. I also love that this definition has the word “others” in it. This means it's not all about you! I’ll expand on that more in just a moment.
Okay, look at this next definition that I wrote.
“Personal Branding is intentionally creating an all encompassing reputation for one’s self through every avenue they are perceived.”
The word “intentionally” is bolded because it means that it takes effort. Our reputation and brand is already being formed whether we understand branding or not. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to intentionally create and direct it. Why is this important? Because we are talking about your identity and how you affect others.
Look at this quote by marketers McNally & Speak,
“Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by
somebody other than you, that describes the
total experience of having a relationship with you.”
I love this quote because it brings us to why I LOVE personal branding and why I have created a career and business around it. If branding and personal branding was just about marketing ourselves to succeed in business and our careers, I would be bored, sad, and feel empty.
I believe personal branding is comprised of two very important parts or phases. The first part or phase is about identity. About figuring out who you are and what you love, like, and excel at. Remember, that part is ongoing. Part 2 is the magic part. It's about relationships. It's about sharing who you are with others. It's about impacting others. Remember personal branding is about the total experience of having a relationship with you.
This DOES NOT mean you should become obsessed with what others think of you. But it does mean that you need to realize and be aware that your words, actions, appearance, etc. affects other people who you encounter. You can impact them negatively or positively. It's your choice. You get to be intentional about it.
I think the beauty of personal branding is that it can make you realize that it isn’t about you. It's about others. Maybe that somewhat takes the pressure off.
I have seen where self-marketing can become self-centered. I have seen where people formulate the perfect words because they know what people or employers want to hear but they are not being authentic and genuine.
Good thing we aren’t talking about self-marketing! We are talking about branding. Branding is identity and strategy. Marketing is promotion.
When you focus on personal branding and you aim to do it well, there is first a level of authenticity followed by a realization that I am different and that is a good thing! And then when both authenticity and being different are realized, CONFIDENCE appears. Confidence in yourself, in your work, in what you are going to pursue next. Which can lead to opportunities, job placement, promotions, partnerships or collaborations, speaking engagements, and new relationships.
My hope is that you now have a better understanding of personal branding and how it can be powerful in your life, career and business. Don’t be overwhelmed by these definitions or realizations. Start by being more aware. By thinking about your identity, your relationships with others, your reputation, and how you impact others. As you are more aware of these things, there are parts of your personal brand we can start to work on. Keep following the blog and on Instagram/Facebook at @eloisedesignco to learn more.
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