Today people are looking for more control over their lives. Creating a truly unique asset that can be branded and marketed becomes essential. What we are here to discuss and decode is how does one unlock this ability. It is through a process called personal branding, first defined by Tom Peters in his article “The Brand Called You” in 1997. We will unlock some of that mystery in the following paper. Remember, this is a framework and starting point, each individual is different. There is no magic bullet that will allow for duplication. While reading, realize that what each individual draws out of this article is unique to them. If this is something that sparks interest join us on the journey as we define what personal branding means and then layout the beginning steps to start the process.
The Definition of Personal Branding
Personal branding can be defined in many different ways. The reason for this is even among experts there is not truly a one definition fits all. So looking at the definition requires more than just a simple search on the word. Googling personal branding will bring you to the definition in Wikipedia. According to it and those editing it, personal branding is defined as, “the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.” Yet another way people have defined personal branding is to look at it as an extension of the social networking craze, making it as technology based and treating it like internet marketing. However, both of those definitions have short comings based on the fact that they ignore aspects of the process that are keys to personal branding. First they ignore the fact that there is more to personal branding than just “self-packaging”, and it discounts the “self-improvement” part. Secondly personal branding did not start with the advent of the internet. There is a strong history of personal branding where people like JC Penny, Sears and Roebuck or Deloitte and Touché used personal branding to launch vast empires. Therefore, I offer my definition of personal branding as follows:
“The creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual; this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.”This definition allows for each individual to have a chance of becoming and creating their own personal brand, without believing that packaging alone or presentation alone makes the brand. Of course defining personal branding is just a starting point for once the term has been defined there must be steps that can be taken to start the process.