What’s the Fuss About Personal Branding?

Personal Branding: a catch phrase that seems to bring with it the promise of success to one’s career, business or other endeavors. But is it truly the case?

Originally, branding was done to let people know who owns what, specifically: cattle. 

Cattle herders needed a system of ownership and so they burned marks on the cows they own. Since cows almost look the same, they needed markers to know who owns what.

Through the years, branding evolved into a mark of quality and trust, distinguishing the generic ones from those who seem to have brand names. The essence of ownership still remains, but this time it was to let others know who made what so that people can identify those they perceived better than the rest. Judgment lies in their hands. Since then, and until now, branding is still all about perceived value or perception.

“Perception is real even when it is not reality.”

– Edward de Bono

Perception or perceived value may or may not be factual; but it defines reality for most of us, and this applies to people. Our perception of others define how we deal with them and how we trust them. And I suppose, this is where personal branding comes in.

Personal branding as a term may have just been used recently. But we have always been building our personal brands way before it was a term. The only difference? Back then, perception was only limited to the people we physically got in touch with: our families, relatives, neighbors, high school and college friends, colleagues and so on. Unless of course, you were a celebrity, a radio/tv host, a journalist, or a politician.

Fast forward today, in the age of technology and social media, we find ourselves with the ability to connect with more people than we could ever imagine and send our message to them, real-time and across time zones. We now have the ability to let others know who we are and what we can do.

Meet Amy (not her real name). She started using LinkedIn while she was still in college and created content and shared them to people. She started interviewing others and posted them online. Her network and followers grew and eventually received job offers even before she graduated from college.

Meet Rupert (not his real name). He was previously a musician who went into a sales profession. After a while, he left his promising career and went into business. He is now actively promoting his brand and himself (as an entrepreneur) in social media.

Meet Tess (not her real name). She previously went into another country hoping to land a job and settle in. She was backed by years of experience and would surely be qualified. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. She went back to her home country and went into LinkedIn and posted her ideas and experiences. Her followers grew and now was offered a coaching job.

These are short examples of some people I came across with who I believe benefited from what we call “Personal Branding”. They were able to create the right perception with the right people.

“It’s no longer enough that you know, you need others to know what you know.”

Whether we like it or not, we are creating perceptions everyday, through our words, actions, behaviors, and so on. The moment we walk out our rooms, we broadcast and create perceptions. Some proactively manage these and some leave it by chance. I pray you do the former.

“People do not buy goods and service. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin.

If ever you choose to proactively manage how people will perceive you, I leave you with these three tips on how to create the right perception:

1.WHY do you do, what you do?

Intent is always prior to Content.


What you project online, should not be far from their experience of you, offline.

3. CONSISTENCY matters.

The only reason we still drive and ride cars (despite the fact that it blows up fuel every time we start the engine), is because of consistency.

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