What Does Personal Brand (or Presence) Really Mean

March 13, 2023


As someone in leadership, you’ve likely heard the term “personal brand” before. I like to refer to it as your personal presence. But for SEO purposes we’ll stick to ‘personal brand’ 😉

And when you hear that you might think, “yeah sure, personal brand – got it.” But in reality, you might actually be thinking, “what does that even mean?!”

The concept of building a personal brand has become increasingly popular in the last few years, especially as more and more people have turned to platforms like LinkedIn to grow their own business or continue climbing the ladder in their career. 

Being in the online space for a few years now, I noticed that this major shift started to happen around 2020. Prior to that, the idea of personal brand was there, but it wasn’t something that many individuals focused on.

When the world started to shift, layoffs started to happen and thousands of people were changing careers for the first time in a long time, the need for something to help these individuals stand out was evident.

Now, with the workforce still looking very different than it used to, you’re seeing more and more people building their personal brand everywhere – TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.

These platforms aren’t just for business owners anymore! Now they’re being used by all types of individuals with the goal of building their personal brand and being known for something. 

When you scroll on these platforms, it’s very obvious who has this whole personal brand thing figured out. It’s the people who are showing up almost daily, sharing stories, providing insights based on their experiences and cultivating thought provoking conversations for people to be a part of. 

These people are the ones that others love to engage with, learn from and look up to. 

The cool part? You can be among this group of people, too!

Whether you realize it or not, you already have some sort of personal brand. The key is that you work to intentionally build it even further and make it known to those around you. 

Because the concept of personal brand can feel a little vague, we’re first going to dive into what exactly personal brand is. Once you understand what it is, you’ll be able to fully understand why it matters and more effectively work to build yours. 

What Is a Personal Brand?

Anytime I speak on or create content about personal brand, I’m reminded of what one of my mentors said one time: your personal brand is being known as the kid at school that everyone wants on their kickball team. 

From there, it’s the person that everyone wants to vote for for student council in high school.

After that, it’s the person that people want as their sorority president. 

And eventually, it’s the person that multiple companies are fighting for because they want you on their team.

What do each of these roles have in common – most valuable kickball player, top voted student council member, chosen sorority president and sought after executive at a company?

It’s that people want you in each of these roles because you’re known for something special and you bring a unique value add wherever you’re involved.

For kickball, it might mean that you’re known for having the best kick that scores the team a point every time. For student council, it might mean that you’re known to have good ideas that will make school events fun and exciting again. 

For sorority president, it might mean that you truly care about the other members and make decisions based on what’s best for everyone in the chapter. And for a big executive role at a company, it might mean that you have the ability to create a culture that a team desperately needs again.

Your personal brand is essentially your identity and it’s shaped by your personal values, daily actions, personal experiences and unique skills that you bring to the table. 

Your personal brand is more than just what you’ve accomplished or who you work for. It’s more about how you intentionally show up in your daily life and how you work to make an impact in your work and for those around you.

When you create content with your personal brand in mind, it will give insight to who you are, how you got to where you are and create genuine connection with like-minded people who value similar things as you. 

To help you really see personal brand in action, here are a few examples of people on LinkedIn specifically who have clearly defined their personal brand and show up daily with their brand in mind:

Sahil is a managing partner at an investment firm, but I bet that the majority of his 100k+ followers on LinkedIn don’t even know that. What they do know is that Sahil values his family, his health and growing relationships.

All of these values are evident based on the type of content that he posts almost daily and it all stems from the personal brand that he has intentionally created.

Heidi is the CEO and Founder of Jobot and her LinkedIn content often connects to her company mission, which directly relates to her personal brand. Through her content, you can clearly see her values as a leader and how she supports and cares for her employees.

Beyond her content about Jobot, she often posts about her mother and grandmother, which connects to another personal value of family.

Claude is the Chief Heart Officer (or Chief People Officer) at VaynerMedia (Gary V’s company) and this role alone says a lot about her personal brand.

Through her content, you can tell that she takes a people first approach in all that she does (in work and in life) and deeply cares about building a positive culture in her environments.

If you glance at the profiles of these individuals, you’ll quickly see that they aren’t just posting about their accomplishments or sharing their company news. 

While there is certainly a time and place for that, what’s more impactful is that you’re sharing stories and insights that align with your personal brand so that you can connect with more of the right people!

Now that you know what personal brand really means, it’s time to learn why your personal brand matters and more importantly HOW to build yours. 

Check back next week for Part 2 of the Personal Brand 101 blog series! And if you want a reminder for when it goes live, CLICK HERE to join The Weekly Huddle Newsletteryou’ll get a message from me in your inbox every Wednesday morning with ways you can show up on LinkedIn more confidently and efficiently and ultimately be a champion in your life and work!

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