Why is Everybody Talking About Personal Branding?
In the past, a person used to associate the word “brand” with big business, like fast-food chains, restaurants, or department stores…but that was before the age of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
Thanks to technology people have the power to become their own brands now. They use these brands to speak directly to their audience in ways that businesses in the past never could.
This change gives everyday people, like you and me to do the same things big brands of the past did for free or for very cheap. Using the right principles, a person could build a brand to:
- Help them get a job or clients.
- Get free products.
- Sell products or services.
- Get sponsorships.
- And so much more.
This is why there is such an emphasis on “personal branding”. With the right personal brand, you can control your career and build new ways to make some cash or make an impact.
What is a Personal Brand?
Before we go into how to use personal brands, we first need to define them. Wikipedia defines personal branding as “It is “an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization…”
There are two key terms we want to look at with this:
- Ongoing: A brand is something that isn’t built one time. It’s something that you continue to build. That means it’s something that can change easily. The power of a personal brand is that you can take the driver’s seat in how your brand changes.
- Reputation or impression: The other key part of a “personal brand.is the “reputation or impression” part. This is essentially what a brand is. While you may use a logo, symbol, or even your name to represent your personal brand, the real value of a brand is what people associate you with.
How to Build Your Brand
Alright, so you know a brand is an “ongoing reputation”, how do you turn that knowledge into something useful (like a YouTube sponsorship)?
- Identify what your brand stands for. Figure out what “impression” do you want to create? What values do you want associated with you? That “impression” will consist of 3 basic components, which is covered in this YouTube video
- Promote yourself. Personal brands don’t grow if you don’t put in the work of networking and living out the values of your brand. To promote, you can do a number of things like creating a website, sharing your expertise on social media or doing a podcast.
- Get feedback As you promote your personal brand, you’ll start to get feedback. People will start associating you with this, like you’re the “WordPress guy” or the “girl who can code” Pay attention to this feedback and use it for your next step.
- Experiment Once you have feedback, it’s time to take action on that feedback. If people associate you with a certain skill or product, can you create content using that skill? Can you offer that skill? Do you have a large group of people that you communicate with about a certain product, service, or skill? These questions can point to money-making ideas down the line, like a book, course, YouTube channel, or more.
- Keep going As you get feedback and experiment, your personal brand will naturally change. That’s fine! There will be time you want to make a change (You want a different look or talk about something else) or you get associated with something new. (Usually that’s a good thing!) Keep adding to your brand by doing things you value in the special way that you do.
So, What Does This “Personal Branding” Stuff Look Like in Real Life?
A very simple answer is gaming. There are people on YouTube who make millions on YouTube, playing a video game on camera and sharing special hackers they learn (or just humor). These hacks or the humor provide value to specific people who watch those gaming videos. By consistently creating and promoting videos, the YouTuber is becoming associated with video games.
This is money because people and businesses pay you for what they associate you for.
Let’s look at an example
YouTube needs an audience (for the ads) to make money. If YouTube management associates you with a person who can bring an audience, they will pay you for that association. That association can be used both on and off the YouTube channel. For example, if you (as a YouTuber) are associated with expertise in cooking, you can make money off cookbooks and courses and sell that to your YouTube audience….and more
So, What is the Purpose of a Personal Brand?
Like it or not, personal brands are here to stay. In fact, they have always been here, if you think about it.
When you describe a loved one or someone you know, you describe your memory of them: how they look, how they act, and how they make you feel.
In other words, their “impression”.
That, is and will always be a personal brand.