The process of personal branding is very relatable to the process of branding in General.
Aaker(?) TvBR(1 describes brand identity as “the unique set of associations to address what the brand stands for and to convey brand promises to its customers and stakeholders.”
The process can be divided in three general steps: brand identity, brand positioning and brand image. There are of course more attributes that will help in creating your own brand, but that will be discussed later in the report.
Brand identity can be divided in two different aspects, namely the core and the extended identity. The core identity is about the vision of the brand, which can be seen from the start of the brand to the future of the brand. The core identity is also about what is unique about the brand and what sets it apart from other brands. Whereas the extended brand identity is more about the ‘supplements’ of the brand, where you can define your brand characteristics.
You can also apply the core identity and the extended identity to personal branding. By applying the core identity, you will have to take an introspective look at yourself. It’s about your personal brand features and how you see yourself from the inside. Whereas the extended identity is about how you want to be seen by others (Shaker).
By creating your brand identity, as already mentioned, you will have to take an introspective look at yourself. You will have to decide what makes you special and what characteristics distinguishes you from everybody else. In this part of the process it is important to ask yourself some questions like:
o What are my values?
o What distinguishes me from others?
o What are my good qualities?
o What am I passionate about?
o In which field am I the most productive?
o What message do I want to give to other people?
In order to get an answer to all these types of questions it is helpful to perform a Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis of yourself. By performing a SWOT analysis, you will get a clear overview of your strengths and weaknesses and this will make it easier for you to understand what your values are. Furthermore, the opportunities and weaknesses will help with challenges in your career path. (Philbrick)
Brand Identity is not necessarily about how you see yourself but it can also be about how others see you. This is the case when you are applying the extended brand identity.
After you have established your main values, motives and beliefs, it is important to distinguish yourself from others in order to stand out. In order to do so, you can compare your characteristics to your target market and to your competitors. To round it all up, brand identity is first about finding your uniqueness and then about your relationship with your target market complement their needs (Khedher).
Brand positioning is about how you position yourself in the industry or on the work floor. This step is about what you can offer to your target audience. Brand positioning is used to feature positive characteristics to the target audience while at the same time distinguish themselves from others (Labrecque).
A brand, as well as a people brand, needs to be positioned in the minds of the consumers. In this step you can gain a competitive advantage. Product brand positioning and people brand positioning are slightly different since brand positioning is about tangible features. Whereas with people brand positioning is built on personalities (Shaker). This step is about presenting yourself and getting a good social network.
When I am talking about your audience, this can be any type of audience depending on your goal of personal branding.
When you have branded yourself into the market it is up to you to make sure you will have a good brand image but it also depends on other elements. Other people can also give information about your brand image. Furthermore, the market itself can also react to you brand which can affect your brand image. With personal branding, you need to make sure your brand image is perceived well because the smallest critic of mistake can affect your brand in a huge way. Brand image is about how other people think of you. The extended identity plays a big role in this step. This step is about getting recognition of the marketplace and to gain credibility.
When your values and beliefs mismatch with the perception of your target audience, it’s likely that your brand is going to fail.
After you have created your personal brand, it is important to sustain the reputation of your brand. You have created your brand with values and you want to meet up with the expectations of your target audience. Brand reputation can be positive as well as negative and it can also change over time. Some public figures have had negative reputation due to bad actions. Some can recover from a bad reputation and others cannot. (Philbrick)