Is personal branding just another buzzword? Yes and no. When we hear the word “branding”, our mind is immediately taken to the corporate world, where everything is marketed and requires planning. In a way, personal branding inherits some similar characteristics because its a projection of a person that needs considerable effort to remain valid. Fancy and novel as it sounds like many other terminologies, such as “growth hacking” and “full stack”, no wonder “personal branding” may come across as another fad. Yet, in reality, personal branding’s nature had been developed long before the internet and it’s highly likely that this term is here to stay.

Although the term’s popularity has been on the increase, especially in the digital era, it’s not the end of the world if you haven’t been thinking about your own personal brand. Is it mandatory to develop a personal brand? Does it negatively affect your life if you decide not to systematically build one? No! Nevertheless, personal branding does give significant values to those who persistently pursue and maintain it. So, whether personal branding suits you or not, let’s read along to find out!

What is personal branding?

According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, personal branding is how you promote yourself. “It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you.” On top of that, you need to deliver a story or a feeling that people can associate with. 

Think of Apple. There are plenty of smartphones on the market, but why do so many people prefer iPhones? To some, Apple’s slick and minimalistic design enables them to feel confident and luxurious, while many others use their products simply because it feels like everyone is using the same brand and by owning an Apple product, they feel a sense of safety and belonging safe and belong. That’s how a “brand” works. Now, let’s apply the same logic on a personal level. 

If you want others to be aware that you’re a Digital Marketer, all you need to do is update your LinkedIn title and add relevant skills to your CV. However, if you want people to consider you the go-to Digital Marketer when it comes to high-quality paid ads campaigns for B2B SaaS companies, you need to amplify your values and skills in a strategic way. Simply put, if you want to become Apple in the Digital Marketing industry, you need an Apple-like brand.

personal branding


Why is personal branding important?

Personal branding brings a great deal of benefits to the table, which can be broken down into three main categories:

  1. Reputation
  2. Income
  3. Connection

With a clear personal brand, you stand out from the crowd. You are no longer a normal Machine Learning Engineer; you are now the next Huyen Chip that LinkedIn and Twitter would like to see. You no longer have only one 9-to-5 job; people come to you with side gigs and paid partnerships. Your circle is no longer confined to just your friends and family relationships; it also now includes other thought leaders around the globe in the same industry. In other words, you are no longer this one person; you are the person that others want to hang around with, follow for advice, or first think of when suitable opportunities arise.

How to do personal branding?

First thing first, determine why you want to do personal branding. What do you want to achieve with your brand? To what extent do you want to go? If your objective is reputation, do you want to be better known in your peer community only or do you want to actually become a large-scale influencer? Depending on the extent, you will be able to define your branding scope, thus coming up with the right plan and steps. Don’t forget to set SMART goals to ensure you stay the course and are motivated. 

Secondly, disregard the stereotype that personal branding has to always happen on social media. Though true that social media is a powerful tool for promoting your personal brand, they aren’t the only platforms that allow you to reach your goals, particularly when you aren’t too active online. More specifically, you can leverage offline networking events, books, or word-of-mouth.

Furthermore, consistency is key. No matter how detailed a plan you make or how logical your goal seems, all will go to waste if you don’t stay consistent and stick to it. Success rarely happens overnight, and it requires a considerable amount of effort and repetition to continue.

If you need more help with the how-to, here are the 10 golden rules of personal branding

Inspiration time!

It’s easier to have a benchmark and learn from their success stories. If you decide that you would like to give your brand a try, here are a few examples that we hope will help spark some inspiration for your personal branding journey.

Roman Pikalenko is a Growth Marketer working in Finland. After consistently sharing engaging content on LinkedIn about personal development and personal branding for more than a year, he’s now a thought leader on LinkedIn with his own flamingo community, consisting of young professionals who seek his help to find their own voice in their career development paths. This side project has encouraged Roman to launch his courses and earn from what he stands for, as well as find a group of like-minded people.

Madeline Mann used to work as a Talent Development Manager. Wanting to help more people during their job hunting process, she created a Youtube channel to share insights and tips from the recruiters’ perspective. She quickly received her first request for a private coaching session, and soon many followed because of good reviews. Now, she’s quit her corporate job to fully run her own coaching business.

Huyen Chip is a prime example of someone whose work is so far from social media but still finds a way to do her personal branding. She showcases her expertise by writing blogs and books. She also actively participates in tech meetups and networking events to learn from others and at the same time promotes herself as a Machine Learning expert. Thanks to this, she’s been a frequent guest speaker who’s inspired many others.

Uyen Ninh is a student in Germany, well-known for her hilarious videos about life in Germany and cultural differences with Vietnam. She doesn’t have her own business, but she’s been earning from affiliate marketing and sponsorships from many different brands. In addition, she’s been interviewed by national German newspapers and TV shows. Without a personal branding strategy, she would still be a normal overseas student.