Developing a Personal Brand

I have had a few discussions recently regarding the definition of a personal brand, and how you might go about developing one. This topic is of particular interest to small business owners, as having a recognized personal brand is usually associated with increased sales.

A personal brand is a fairly vague term, since it can consist of a variety of components. It can be a photograph or image. It can be a phrase or expression. It can be an idea or concept. In most cases, a personal brand is built from multiple such items, some deliberate, others incidental. Some can be generated quickly, while others will take a long time.

As a person, your personal brand includes your image (see my article What is Your Image Worth for more information) as well as ideas – honest, creative, resourceful. As a company, you may have a slogan, or perhaps a distinctive image. For example, the swish is an easily identified image that makes you think Nike. “You’re fired” is an expression that makes you think of Donald Trump. These are personal brands.

As a small business owner, your personal brand is important. It lets potential customers and clients think of you more easily than the thought of your competitor. It evokes feelings of trust, and that can lead to more business. When putting together a personal brand, run it (whether image, saying, or idea) by a sample group to get feedback on what thoughts your image evokes. Once you’ve established a personal brand, it becomes much harder to change it than if you don’t yet have one.