Andrea Azzola

Technology, Personal Development and Financial Independence

Personal Branding, a Brief Introduction

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Personal branding is a branch of marketing and a set of techniques for nurturing the public perception of self. I'm a software developer with interest in personal development and entrepreneurship, the article discuss a few key principles I've learn over time and literature.

It's a matter of survival

We all live in times when big corporations are in the web, when stability of work contracts is challenged everyday by competition and outsourcing to to the cheapest. Information is a first class citizen, HR departments can conduct pretty much of all of their research through LinkedIn and Google. Change might be subtle but it's unrelentingly pulling the levers.

The Brand Called You

A brand, is an identity composed by a singularity of values. Apply this concept to people and you get a basic principle: being distinguishable. And you want to get the positive type of distinction, of course.

For everyone of us, even if unwillingly, we always carry a brand, everyday. The way we appear, behave and communicate: the entire experience of self, given to others.

We can decide to leverage this perception, on various degrees, or we can decide to ignore it. Although not everybody is comfortable marketing himself, it is also true that nobody want to be a target in hunting season ant that's where the excess negligence leads to.

It's passive income

Don't try to do everything yourself. Find a horse to ride ~Jack Trout

Advertising is the Soul of commerce. Sure, but it can be expensive, invasive and overwhelming too. Some of us, are developing anti-corps, to advertising.

You might have heard the phrase SEO is dead and while this is not entirely true, Google's new algorithm Hummingbird tend to care less about keywords but much more about the surrounding network of trust. Google's business after all is to provide users with more effective answers and increase its own conversion rate.

Put that into perspective and we may come to the conclusion that content is king. You can choose to go to every single contact of your list, ring the bell, hope to make a sale, hope they not mark you as "spam". Or you can have them coming to you, because of the network of trust you've built with true value over time. That's the brand working for you.

Personal branding can be used for many purposes:

  • Attract customers
  • Career improvement
  • Boost a new project
  • Get more revenues out of an existing business
  • Control on-line reputation
  • Get in touch with experts
  • Grow a social capital

But I already work for a company (and I like it)

Personal branding in a company is good!

  1. Companies are made of people. The higher the reputation of a company is, so are the chances of landing opportunities. Famous people tend to bring prestige to a company, not misfortune.

  2. We might be doing an excellent job right now, it might amount to nothing if nobody, other than us, knows about it. On the other hand, someone else might be doing an "ok" job, communicate it effectively and get rewarded.

  3. It strengthens the team cohesion, colleagues and professionals that gravitates around you, if earned, will grant trust. Plus, they may feel inspired by what you're doing and step up they're game too, which would be a huge win for the company.

Conclusion

The path of true personal branding is not for everyone, it lead to exposure, it requires perseverance. It is a tool and like all tools requires knowledge and must be used properly and if needed. Of course, it can lead to enormous benefits.