The word puzzles many people. Yet it is as simple as counting 1, 2, 3. The marketing industry made it confusing, too “out there” for people to try to comprehend it. It became nothing more than another word in marketing jargon.
We need to take it back, reel it back in. It’s an easy concept. I really hope that once you’re done reading this you will leave with a full understanding of what a personal brand is.
The easiest way to explain personal branding is to use just one word: YOU.
It might sound banal, but that’s exactly what a personal brand is. Everything you are is your brand. Everything you do is your brand. As simple as that.
Your brand extends into both worlds, online and offline. They are Siamese twins, which should be cared for at the same time, with the same amount of care, love, and nurturing.
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. They create an online persona, yet offline they are completely different. You have to be homogeneous wherever you are, whatever you do. Establishing strong, coherent personal brand increases credibility and builds rapport.
What does your personal brand encompass?
- the way you speak, public and private
- the way you carry yourself/confidence
- the way you greet people
- first impressions
- the way you respond to good and bad news, as well as criticism
- the way you follow and lead
- the way you treat people above and below you
- personal hygiene (yes, some people still do suck at it)
- clothes you wear
- the firmness of your handshake
- the warmth of your hug
- your ice breakers (and even pickup lines)
- your accent, dialect, and language used
- introvert or extrovert (personality type)
- your outlook on life (optimism, pessimism, cynicism, etc.)
- your bad and good habits
- your timeliness
- the way you act if you get drunk
- the way you write you articles and posts
- do you offer any other helpful resources
- are you helping people or exploiting them?
- the way you comment on other sites
- do you reply to comments on your blog
- do you engage people in dialog, or do you routinely practice monologue?
- the way you tweet
- what you tweet
- who you tweet with
- what are you hiding with a private Twitter account?
- your Facebook (and other social networks) status updates
- do you help others (answer questions, provide resources, etc.)
- what Google has to say about you
- the way you post on forums
- your music selection on Pandora or Last.fm
- is your website appealing
- what kind of ads you allow to be displayed on your site
This is just to give you an example of what I mean when I say everything. Am I missing things from this list? You bet. This is just to get you thinking.
The brand is not an extension of you. It is you. Your brand’s failure is your failure.