As someone who specializes in personal branding, the question I get asked most often by my friends and colleagues online is “How do you keep yourself looking so young and vibrant?”
I know. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Anyway. The next question I get asked nearly as often is “Do I need a personal brand?”
Both are great questions. And while I have no scientific evidence to prove that this is true, I’m pretty sure the answer to the first question has something to do with my phobia of mushrooms, sponges, and raw cheese.
(I’m not joking. That is real.)
As far as the second question goes, the answer is no. You don’t need a personal brand.
WAIT! You didn’t let me finish.
Why You Don’t Need a Personal Brand
The reason you don’t need a personal brand is because you already have one.
Here’s what I mean.
If you are on any form of social media. Or if you know someone who is on any form of social media. Or if you have written content that has ever been posted somewhere outside of your private journal. Or if you have ever held a job that employs someone other than yourself. Or if you have ever spoken to another human being (not including yourself). Or if you have a pulse.
You already have a personal brand.
You see, whether you like it or not, people are talking about you and they will continue to talk about you. And if there is nothing out there to talk about, we will make something up. All it takes is the slightest bit of information for the rest of us to fill in the missing pieces and tell your story.
Remember that picture someone took of you doing a keg stand in college twenty years ago? If there’s nothing else to work off of, that becomes the foundation of your personal brand.
(Nice form by the way.)
So, What is Personal Branding?
If your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not around, personal branding is merely the act of guiding and controlling conversation they are having. Feeding them the information they use to help tell your story.
(Assuming you’re being honest and doing it with integrity. If not, it isn’t so much personal branding as it is lying through your teeth.)
When you learn how to manage the conversation people are having about you, you are able to better manage how people see you and the value you bring to your community, the company you work for and even the world. All of which dramatically increases your chances of growing your business, getting a promotion, building a network and creating new opportunities.
So, the question really isn’t a matter of whether or not you need a personal brand. The question is what are you going to do with the one you have?