What is Personal Branding? Is it Right for You?
Updated: Nov 3
There seems to be a lot of confusion on the internet when it comes to the topic of personal branding, and for good reason.
So what is "Personal Branding"?
Personal branding is a relatively new concept that was introduced with the rise of the internet. Before that, branding was mostly applicable to the "big dogs" (i.e. businesses & organizations) simply because it was impossible to run a business as a single person.
Now thanks to the power of technology and the internet, it is completely possible for a one-man (or woman!) band to launch and scale a business to 6-7 figures. In fact, with the recent rise of social media and digital marketing, we have more "solopreneurs" on the market than businesses with teams.
This means that whoever is running the business IS the brand... because they're the main attraction!
A personal brand is the customer-facing identity that a person uses to market themselves (& their services) to build rapport with an audience.
And believe it or not... everyone has a personal brand!
(Even if you're not in business)!
It all goes down to how you choose to show up every day. Your words, actions, habits and mannerisms indirectly show people what they can be expecting from you.
For example, we all have that friend who is chronically late to every single hangout. When they decide to show up on time (or even early), everyone is surprised.
For that person, being late is part of their brand... whether or not they intended for it to be.
So when people say that they're "building" their personal brand, what that really means is that they are simply being more intentional about the way they present themselves.
They're aware of how they come off, and they're working on leveraging certain aspects of their identity to attract their audience and build rapport with them.
But what if you run a business with a team? Does that mean that you don't need a personal brand?
Contrary to popular belief, it's actually possible to have both a business brand AND a personal brand!
If you're a business owner, chances are you already have a business brand. This means that your business has a name that is different from yours, and when you do your marketing, the focus is largely on the products or services your business provides.
For example, Elon Musk founded Tesla (and SpaceX, PayPal, etc.), but these businesses are separate entities from Elon. These businesses each have their own identity, and market their products and services accordingly. While people come to know these companies through Elon (or vise versa), Elon's personal brand is separate from his business brands.
If this sounds like you and you're currently looking to build a platform or develop your influence, then a personal brand is still for you!
Your business brand can still be a part of your personal brand (since it is one of the MANY things you do!), but your personal brand allows more room for you to be yourself and share about the things you love!
Basically speaking, a business brand does marketing for your business... and your personal brand does marketing for YOU.
So how do you know if you should be focusing on personal branding or business branding?
You'll want to focus on your personal branding if you ARE your business (i.e. the main attraction / service provider).
On the other hand, you'll want to focus on your business branding if you are building for scale and the main attraction is the product or service your business provides.
For example, if you're a yoga instructor and you're just starting out, you'll want to focus on building your personal brand first (since you are the main highlight of your customers' experience), and you can build out your business brand when you open up your own studio and hire a team.
If you want more info on this, I wrote a blog post that goes more in depth about the difference between business branding and personal branding that you can check out HERE!
Still feeling unsure?
I totally get it! Branding can be confusing since you're so close to what you do. It can be hard to see past your own personal bias and make a decision about what you should be leading with when you do your marketing.
If you need some support with finding clarity on whether personal branding or business branding is right for you, I'm offering a FREE 30-minute brand consultation call for anyone who wants to get unstuck 💖