Karen Lomas
December 8, 2021

What is a Personal Brand?

What is a Personal Brand?

Great question. Think of a brand; any brand. My mind goes to Marmite. No, not Vegemite! This product is a delicious spread that you can put with toast and butter, for breakfast or a snack. It’s similar to Vegemite, the Australian ‘equivalent’. Or is it? Well, yes…but no. It’s similar, but not the same. Marmite is my preferred brand of savoury spread of dark and mysterious ingredients. Call me a Pom – I’m from England, that much is true. But we all do have preferences when it comes to brands of products, often because we have simply become accustomed to the taste, or style. So how does branding apply to humans?

What is a personal brand?

Think of a business. Any  business. Maybe it’s a florist. It has an identity, or ‘branding’ that makes that business unique. The florist might be quirky, or conservative, traditional or avant-guard. Everything about the business will sing that song, from the logo, colour palette of the website/shop frontage, the items on sale and the designs of arrangements. You know what you’re getting when you go to that florist. This is the branding at play. The message that the owner is conveying, consistently, so that the customers feel confident, safe in the knowledge that they know exactly what they’re going to get. So for humans, your personal brand is simply who you are, how you interact, what matters to you; your individual unique identity. There is nobody else like you. That’s your style, or personal brand.

Personas Versus Personal Brand

In psychology, Erving Goffman referred to the concept of the persona – the performances we adopt. But that’s a bit different to the 21st century concept of personal branding. We can portray different personas depending upon context. We might be playful with our friends and rather more contained in our mode of conduct in a business meeting. No, your personal brand is bigger picture – the overarching YOU and this becomes the way in which you are generally perceived to be by others.

Take a hero or role model. Ask yourself what is it about that identity that you appreciate. How you describe that person is their personal brand. An example might be your favourite musician, or sporting hero. My favourite actress has always been Audrey Hepburn, who was famous in the 1960s, in particular. She had poise, elegance, grace. She could dance well, always looked well groomed and conducted herself with kindness and compassion. I admired her comic timing in her performances and I was impressed by her energy and commitment to her charitable work. I could never imagine Audrey Hepburn falling over drunk in a gutter, or failing to turn up on time for her appearances. She was apparently really reliable and committed. These qualities are important if you wish to be seen in good light by a movie director.

Personal Branding and Recruitment

In the same way, a recruiter will look at your behaviour and can do that with ease due to social media. A prospective employer is able to access Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok with relative ease. What might they find out about you if they decide to do so? Therefore, if you wish to portray yourself in a certain way and you have photos or video of yourself that have been shared on online platforms, you can spoil your brand if those bits of media just don’t match up. It’s a good idea to check this on all of your sharing sites, so that how you present yourself is consistent and not confusing to others? This is especially important when you are job hunting.

But realistically you can’t ‘sell’ your personal brand in a certain way, only 50% of the time. You need to maintain your branded identity; demonstrate your style 24/7.If, for example, you are meeting someone new for the purposes of general networking, you must be “on-brand” throughout. Here’s an earlier podcast on just this.

The trick in job hunting is to make sure your pitch to a recruiter, via your cover letter and resume, or digital resume (the Zygadoc), gets your brand across.

Our New Podcast Episode – Personal Brandology with Jayden Kafanelis

In our next episode of the Karen Your Career Coach Podcast, where we talk all things jobs and careers, we interview Jayden Kafanelis, the author of a new book called Personal Brandology. Jayden explains personal branding in detail and how you give a brief but clear overview of how your brand aligns with the business culture in question – a meeting of minds, values, mission.

Consider Brandology like Mixology, that great art of mixing cocktails; bit of this, splash of that. So please do listen in to our 4th and final episode of this season’s Karen Your Career Coach, all things Jobs and Careers Podcast, which we’re up-streaming this week. We will discuss blending and extending, mixing and maintaining your personal brand in the hunt for your dream job.

To find out more listen to EP 3 of our podcast here:

Contact us at www.karenyourcareercoach.com.au/contact/ to find out about our resume and cover letter writing skills training.

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