1. The whole concept of the "Personal Brand" is really annoying to me. People aren't brands, they're people.
2. Aren't things that have "brands" usually commodities? I am not a commodity.
3. But a brand is curated. It is thought about and presented. It is simply your identity, it is a curated and created identity.
4. The word 'branding' scares me because I don't understand it all. When I hear people talking about it I think, 'that's not for me.'
"The concept of personal brand is really annoying to me"
Are annoyed by this concept because you are thinking of brand defined as "a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name" as opposed to being defined as "a particular identity or image"?
(NOTE *** Both definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary > bit.ly/1yrcUe2)
The word brand comes from the days in which cattle owners used to mark cows with hot iron so that other owners couldn't steal their cattle and claim ownership.
Samuel Maverick was a cattle owner who thought it was inhuman to mark cows with red hot iron so he decided not to have any brand. People thought this was crazy because it meant anybody could steal his cows and claim ownership by putting their brand on it.
This practice of not branding his cows became so closely associated with Samuel Maverick that any cow that didn't have any brand was assumed to belong to him.
More importantly, the practice of doing the opposite of what everybody else is doing has become so closely associated with Samuel Maverick that his name became a word!! (Maverick = unorthodox and independent-minded person)
Personal brand is another word for identity. The interesting thing is that even if you don't want to, you do have a brand.
If you don't believe me, a simple exercise to check this is to ask 20 people you know to say what they think of you. You will most likely discover that most people you know define you in the same way... that's your personal brand.
All identities are curated: don't you choose how you behave and what you do
If you choose how you behave / what you do... you are curating your brand through your actions. When I coach someone to build their personal brand, the first thing I do is observe people's actions. The brand is build based on the action you already take, not the other way around.
A strong personal brand is a perfect reflection of the way you REALLY behave. That's why the moment you know your personal brand is authentic is when people say something like "you're exactly like when you speak on TV", "talking with you is exactly like reading your book", or "you're exactly the way I imagined you from reading your website".
If the external image of you is a perfect reflection of how you normally behave, you've got a coherent personal brand. Some people lie when it comes to saying who they REALLY are... and when that becomes discovered, they go from fame to shame. A perfect example is Tiger Woods: he pretended that he was someone he wasn't, and the result was devastating for him and the companies that got associated with him.
In the book You are Your Brand! - now required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology's newest course on digital literacy! -, we talk about this important aspect of building your personal brand: the more authentic it is, the more successful you will be!
This conversations was sparked by comments related to an article I co-authored on "Personal Branding for Shy People" for Social Media Today.
You may also want to take a look at this article written by a Fashion Institute of Technology student who read the book and quoted this paragraph:
"If you have taken the time to ask yourself important questions, which you had not previously thought of, you may at first feel disoriented. Overtime, as you clarify what you believe in and stand for you will gain more inner peace: you will feel coherent and therefore a lot more confident in your actions" - Excerpt taken from the book "You Are Your Brand!"