Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness, building a reputation on the things you want to be known for, and then allowing yourself to be known for them. Ultimately, the goal is to create something that conveys a message and that can be monetized.
Whereas some self-help practices focus on self-improvement, personal branding defines success as a form of self-packaging. The term is thought to have originated from an article written by Tom Peters in 1997. In Be Your Own Brand, first published in 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak wrote: “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”
Individuals sometimes associate personal names or pseudonyms with their businesses. Notably, 45th President of the United States and real estate mogul Donald Trump uses his last name on properties and other enterprises (e.g. Trump Tower). Celebrities may also leverage their social status to support organizations for financial or social gain. For example, Kim Kardashian endorses brands and products through her media influence.
The relationship between brands and consumers is dynamic and must be constantly refined. This continuous process demonstrates the ambivalence of consumerism.
A personal brand is a widely recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.
Personal brands may be deliberately modified to reinvent a public persona. This may be to recover from a public embarrassment, or to re-emerge from obscurity. The public perception of authenticity often determines the success of a rebranding.