Should You Try to Be a Personal Brand?

Is it necessary to brand yourself when you're making a career change? If you've been paying attention, everyone is currently working on building a personal brand. It's often the first nugget of advice you're handed by peers and experts when seeking tips for how to rise up in your industry. The popularity of social media has fueled the concept of becoming your own "brand." What started as gaining followers to build connections and influence soon turned into a race for brand recognition.

  • "What's your brand?"
  • "That's very on-brand."
  • "You need to establish a brand identity."
  • "You don't want to go off-brand."

Do these sound familiar? You've no doubt come across this kind of talk if you're researching ways to become more marketable. Should you be working on building a brand? While it may seem like the concept is almost becoming cliché, the truth is that branding is now a part of cultivating a professional identity. The reason why many people are conflicted about self-branding is that they're falling into one common trap that will be discussed in just a moment!

Why "Branding" Isn't Necessarily Trite, Self-Promotional or Stale

The origins of "personal brand building" are both wise and noble. Feeling exhausted and insecure from constantly only being given the security and positioning offered to them by their employers or industries, many professionals set out to build a "safety net" that allowed them to "transcend" any one role. You can't be fired from your status when you're the boss of your brand. In a career, a personal brand can be a great extra "essence" that allows your qualifications and expertise to enter the door before you do. While we've turned the "personal brand" into a modern concept, it adds up to reputation building.

For some people, working on building a brand makes them feel like a commodity. Others don't see the value in it because they are interested in contributing to organizations instead of spending time building up their own profiles. However, there is value in building a personal brand. It doesn't necessarily need to be a full-time effort. In fact, building your "brand" can happen organically once you pin down what you enjoy doing in life because you will become an expert and ambassador by default based solely on your immersive, inspiring drive. If you're at the phase where you don't feel that you know enough about your goals to begin organically building your brand, it may be time to work with a career coach.

The Secret to Authentic, Effective Branding: Linking Your Brand to Your Life's Purpose and Work

There's no need for there to be a false edifice when it comes to branding yourself. Realizing this is the key to building your personal brand effortlessly. Your brand is the "sum" of your personal and professional abilities. When cultivated correctly, it should be an expression of your life's purpose that also demonstrates your unique value. So many people are missing the mark on personal branding effectively because they are trying to brand themselves like companies. Here's what your branding strategy should be doing for you:

  • Increasing your satisfaction.
  • Allowing you to maintain perspective.
  • Acting as a continual source of inspiration.
  • Facilitating the flow of life.
  • Serving as a decision-making tool.
  • Reminding you of your greater journey.
  • Helping you to attract supportive allies along the way.
  • Establishing a sense of relatedness among the parts of our life.
  • Helping you to remember that life includes service, giving back and contribution.
  • Supplying a contextual foundation for creating visions and goals that matter.

With this in mind, crafting your brand begins to look a lot like identifying your life's purpose! Once you've decided to use your personal brand as both a vehicle and expression for your life's purpose, building it up takes on an entirely new meaning. What was once a strategic chore now becomes an organic part of expressing your passion to others who can network with you to bring ideas to life.