who are you? Who cares?

Developing a personal brand

Often people ask me about personal branding and are taken aback when I ask them these two simple yet very important questions.

Personal branding has become somewhat of a buzz word in this day and age full of influencers and social media stars; but personal branding isn’t about your follower count, heck it isn’t even about influence; it is about identity, specifically how you are identified by others.

Let’s step away from how you see yourself for a moment, while that’s important it isn’t likely why you care about personal branding. Branding at its essence is simply a way to differentiate one source from another, once a brand becomes identifiable as distinct it starts to have meaning attached to it. Your personal brand is no different, your face, your voice, your general appearance allows others to identify you as a distinct individual.

As people get to know you (the brand), they begin to attach meaning to you. They begin to develop feelings about you. For most this happens passively, gradually and without strategy or design. Personal branding aims to take some control of the process. It is important not to confuse promotion with branding, while it is an important activity if you want to be a notable brand it isn’t personal branding.

Who are you? Who cares? In developing a personal brand it is important to understand who will be ascribing meaning to your brand, (who cares) this is important because it helps guide you in determining what’s most critical to your brand design. Who are you to the people who care to know (or should care). What parts of your identity are relevant and should therefore be considered when developing your personal brand?

You are a complex, deep, multifaceted individual, even if you think you’re not. However you are one of many brands in your who’s mind. Unless you have a deep meaningful relationship built over many years with someone they will only see a sliver of you. It is that sliver that is what crafting a personal brand is mostly focused on.

So if you’re looking to engage in personal branding start there. Understand your who and what they care about, think about what you want them to associate your personal brand with. Determine three to five things that are of paramount importance to them. Why? Because if they don’t care they’ll forget. Was Mike Tyson good with dogs? Was George Bush a good dancer? How about Obama; was any good at cooking? If you know the answers to those three questions you’re a unicorn 🦄 but the truth is that even people as well know as Tyson, Obama & Bush are only remembered in part as opposed to in whole.

So when working on your personal brand, focus on who you are to the people who care to know and more specifically who are you to the audience you’re developing your personal brand for.

Happy 😃 branding.

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