What is a personal brand and why should you want one?
Over the past few years, personal branding has become a catch phrase taking the internet and surely your LinkedIn feed by storm. Everyone from Gary Vaynerchuk to Simon Sinek has their own take on what a “personal brand” is and how to create one. Which, yes. Having a personal brand is a very good idea. But before we dig in to how to create a personal brand. Let’s start with what it is and why it matters.
What actually is a personal brand?
Great question, my friend. IMO, there are a few ways to think about this question. First of all. A brand when it comes to a company or corporation is an identifying mark that becomes a representation for the company itself. This is key for corporations, right? Because they need a way for people to find them and also to distinguish themselves from their competition. Really good brands go beyond just a logo or a name and start to represent ideologies or core philosophies. You can name them easily, I’ll spare you the list. These are the products you love and maybe even wear on t-shirts or hats. If you want to know more about that, look back at Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk. It’s amazing.
Next up, personal brand. Obviously you already have a name you can start with. Your logo is probably your face for all intents and purposes, so you’re already two steps ahead, in many ways. To take it to the next level, however, your personal brand is what you’re known for. I think the easiest way to think about it is: If a stranger typed your name into Google and was actually able to find you, what would they know about you from what they found? When you meet someone on the street and talk to them for 5 minutes, how would they describe you to their friend later that day?
Actually. If everyone you met only knew one thing about you after talking to you for 5 minutes, what would it be?
Because the reality is, people search for you (yes, you!) regularly on the internet. You meet people every single day. They might be your new coworker, a prospective employer, a prospective client, or just your friendly barista who’s been making your half-caf iced oat milk latte every weekday morning for a year and half.
Cool. So why is personal brand important?
Another excellent question! Especially for those of you whose name isn’t easily Google-able, it’s easy to slip into the comfort of anonymity. When you’re name is typed into that search bar and 100,000 other people show up, why does it matter? Well, a few reasons my friends.
First, people want to connect with you. Yes, you! Human connection is a basic biologically-driven human need. We function best in tribes. We enjoy being part of a community. Connecting feels good. People want to help you. They want to know how you can help them. Plain and simple.
This brings me to my second point, though. People are busy and lazy. Maybe both? Connecting with people, helping people, getting support from people — it all feels good. But actually taking the time to know someone? How often do you forget even someone’s name in the first few seconds of meeting them? You’re not alone. It’s ok. No need to judge.
So if people want to connect with you and help you (which they do), but also don’t want to put in a lot of effort to do it (which they don’t), how can you get their help? Have a personal brand!
A personal brand is your most sure-fire way to make connecting with others easy, and I daresay fulfilling, maybe even fun. It’s honestly not just about what comes up in that Google search, though that is important. It’s about knowing who you are and what you stand for, so that you can more easily connect with others and support them in a way that’s meaningful to you. And so that they can do the same for you.
But how do I define it?
That’s the million dollar question. So, if your personal brand is what you want people to know about you in a 5-minute conversation so that you can more easily connect and support each other…how do you get there? Short answer: know yourself. Longer answer: tune in next time!