Welcome back. Today's topic is going to be something that I get asked about a lot. Whether it's on Twitter, email or in person. That question is simply, what is the difference between personal brands and personal branding?
I'm guilty of this at times but a lot of people use the two terms interchangeably. However, I like to think of them as two separate things.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL BRAND?
Let me start with a personal brand. A personal brand is simply you. It's a combination of your skills, your traits, your values. It's everything that comes together to make you, you.
So the perception that others may have about you, that is all a part of your personal brand. There's a famous quote by the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos.
“Your personal brand is what others say about you when you're not in the room.”
If you stop and you really think about what this means, it's the combination your skills, your traits, and your values. All of which are displayed by you every day in your interactions with other people. Those other people take all of these “things” and they form a perception of you.
This perception is what they carry around with them when you're not in the room. This is important from a career standpoint because what people think about you can make the difference between whether you get opportunities or not.
So your personal brand plays a big role in this. If you're still struggling with this concept, here’s an example.
YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IN ACTION
Let's assume for a minute that you're sitting in a conference room with a bunch of your peers. You're all talking about a project or something that you're working on within the four walls of your office. All of a sudden during the middle of the discussion, the door opens and a senior leader sits down at the table.
What happens to the mood if you will of that room? Does it stay the same? Or does it get a lot more serious?
Regardless of the outcome, what has happened to the atmosphere of the room is the personal brand of the senior leader.
Now take that same exact scenario. This time it's your peers sitting around a conference room table talking about a project. This time when the door opens, YOU walk in.
What happens to the atmosphere of the room now? Does it stay the same? Or does it change?
Knowing the answer to this question requires you to become self-aware. Once you become self-aware, you will begin to understand what your personal brand is in the eyes of others.
Understanding your personal brand also helps you understand the value that you add in the workplace. This requires you to take a deep dive look at yourself.
I’ll talk about self-awareness late but for now know that your personal brand is simply you. It's your values, it's your skills, it’s your traits. It's everything that goes into making you, you.
WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING?
On the flip side, is personal branding. I define personal branding as;
“The intentional act of telling the world who you are and how you add value.”
The biggest difference between a personal brand and a personal branding is the single word intentional. Intentionally building your brand in a specific way, hopefully in a way that gets you found and noticed for your expertise.
In order to be intentional about your personal branding, you first have to know and understand what you want to become known for. What's important is whether or not people know you for something. The only way they can do this is if you have been intentionally working to build your brand.
Doing so will help people start to know you for what you know. You can do personal branding offline as well. Think about the way you act, the way you talk, the way you dress, the things that you discuss and your actions and activities all within the scope of your career.
BUILDING YOUR DIGITAL BRAND
Fortunately for us as job seekers, as career professionals, we can actually take it a step further by building our digital brands. Our digital brands are essentially taking our personal branding online.
But we do it intentionally, in a way that will get us found and get us recognized for what we want to become known for.
We can do this in several ways, but a single best way to do this is through having your own website. I'll talk more about this later but having your website gives you a place online that you can control. A place that you own, a place that you don't have to worry about the company shutting down on you and taking all of your data and information with them like what happened recently with a company called branded me.
When it comes to digital branding, I think way too many of us are not intentional about what we put online. In fact, in a lot of cases we probably don't even think about the ramifications of what we put online or how what we put online can be perceived by others.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR?
This is a really important part of building your brand online. Once you decide what you want to become known for, you need to become that everywhere both online and offline.
I'll get into this a little bit more in later vlogs but for now, for today, your takeaway should be the following.
Your personal brand is you. It's everything that goes into making you, you, such as your skills, your traits, and your values.
Personal branding is simply the intentional act of telling the world who you are and how you add value. We can take this a step further by being intentional and building a digital brand that's reflective of what we want to become known for.
So now that you know, as you go about your day I want you to ask yourself are you creating the brand for yourself that you want? Are you taking the actions and engaging in the activities that will help people understand what you want to become known for?
In fact, I challenge you to take a few minutes and just ask yourself what do you want to become known for?
If you could start your career all over again, what would you do? What would you want people to say about you when you're not in the room?
And with that, I’ll call today's vlog done.