Personal branding is the process of defining and promoting what you stand for as an individual. Your personal brand is a culmination of the experiences, skills and values that differentiate you.

For social media influencers, freelancers and keynote speakers, building an effective personal brand is part of “selling” themselves to clients. For everyday people, a personal brand improves confidence, opens the door to new opportunities and helps you better understand yourself.

Defining your personal brand

Everyone has their own personal brand. Just like with corporate brands, people will perceive you in a certain way. By taking charge of your personal brand, you can determine what people think and feel when they interact with you.

For instance, companies like Nike have put a lot of time and effort into cultivating an image as a company for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Nike conveys this identity in everything it sells, its marketing techniques and even its social media presence.

Some business leaders cultivate personal brands to improve their chances of sales, because 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals over companies.

How to create a personal brand

A personal brand exists whether you create it for yourself or not. It’s a culmination of all your online and offline behavior. However, you can adjust your brand with a few careful steps. For instance:

  • Set goals for personal branding: Decide what you want to be known for and what you’ll need to do to establish your identity.
  • Audit your existing brand: Search for yourself online and find out what people are already saying about you. This will show you how much you need to change.
  • Create a consistent strategy: Determine how you’re going to showcase your identity (blogging, interviews, social media) and stick to a regular schedule.

It’s not about presenting a fake identity or creating a character for yourself. Successful personal branding is about curating certain parts of your personality to present yourself to your network in the best possible light.

The benefits of personal branding

A personal branding strategy is a way for ambitious people to improve their reputation online. However, personal branding also leads to:

  • Improved credibility as you showcase your skills and highlight your knowledge.
  • Differentiation as you explain what sets you apart from other people in your space and demonstrate your specialties.
  • A lasting impression – the more you show off your personal brand, the more you’ll give people a way to remember you.
  • Connection to your target audience as they begin to understand who you are and what you stand for.

Importantly, personal branding often involves communicating your identity to the right people. Not everyone will resonate with your personal brand, so it’s important to decide who you want to connect with before you start your branding process.