Personal Branding. It’s just a buzzword. It’s everything. It’s meaningless. It’s a fad. It’s all the above. When it comes to personal branding, there are different definitions, mainly because there are different personalities. No matter what you define personal branding, it is there, it is relevant. One thing that seems to escape the conversation is the different levels of your brand. Like in psychology, there arethree parts to a personality, there is three levels to your personal brand.
Those levels are on paper, online and in person.
On Paper: We are all familiar with resumés. They are the very basic level of your personal brand. Theoretically, it’s where all your experience wraps into a few pages to show qualifications for a position. Practically, it’s a handcrafted document of your personal brand and experience.
During my teenage years I was into the card game Magic: The Gathering. I would spend hours creating my battle deck for tournaments, friendly battles and after school amusement. Like your resumé, you should prepare it for tournaments (job boards), friendly games (interviews) and amusement (preparation).
Online: I love LinkedIn! It helped me learn how to network better, offered me keen insight and quite less frustrating than Facebook. But contrary to what you might read, there are more sites than Facebook or LinkedIn. Your digital footprint is the second level of your personal brand. More people will have access to Google than your resumé, so make your personal brand more personal.
Personal websites, blogs, YouTube videos and many other websites create a web presence. Web presence is the new reputation. The good, the bad, the creative and the boring, you can find anything online; in Cyberspace Everyone can Hear You Scream.
In Person: Web presence might be the new reputation, but reputation is still real. No matter how digital campaigns get, how automated our payments plan get, people will always want to do business with people. You are the highest level of your personal brand, because you are you, 24/7, 365 days (expect for Halloween).
I was thrilled when I found out my favorite book as a teenager, The Giver, was given the film treatment. My wife and I watched it when it came out, and it shows exactly what I’m referring to. People need people, no person is a single island. The Giver shows a Utopian society that eliminates personality on every level. I won’t spoil the book or movie, but it shows why I’m a proponent for personality and human difference.
Three levels of personal branding, finally explained. From paper to people, there is no “one” formula for a brand, as there is no “one” absolutely alike. Your personal brand should be a reflection of your personal brand maximized (yourself). Be yourself, always, from documents to profiles to meetings.