A brand is a promise
It is the position something holds in your mind. It is what prevents something from being a commodity.
An example is Starbucks. When I think of Starbucks, I think of a strong, although over roasted to my taste, cup of coffee and a comfortable place to sit (with all the other “hipsters”!).
Another example is Apple. When I think of Apple, I think technologically advanced and cool gadgets with great usability features.
I’ll pay more for a cup of Starbucks or an iPhone than some unknown cup of coffee or most other types of phones because of the brand; that is, because of the promise, because of the position they hold in my mind.
There is trust and safety in brands. You know exactly what you are getting.
That’s why brands are important.
Personal branding is branding applied to you. Your personal brand is who you are. It better show that you not a commodity. It is based on what’s special and unique about you.
Rock Stars are NOT commodities. They have Unique Brands.
They are all special and unique. Think David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Madonna.
What do people think of when they think of you? And highly related, what do people immediately find when they google you?
Your personal brand will help attract the right people, organizations & opportunities AND hopefully repel those that are inappropriate for you.
People get what they expect, and if you have a strong personal brand people will not only choose you but they’ll think only good things about you.
If they think amazing things about you, and a project you’re involves in fails or is horribly late or otherwise sucks, they’ll think something like “tough project” instead of “man they screwed up – what a bozo.”
If you have already have developed an amazing personal brand, like much less than 0.1% of the population ever will, you can do pretty much whatever you want and people will like it. Now I’m not saying you can screw up endlessly, you must continue to do great things, but you’ve got a lot of leeway.
For example, I saw the less than great movie “Men Who Stare at Goats” with George Clooney. George Clooney has such a strong brand, people went to the movie despite the horrible reviews and knowing it was a silly movie. By the way, I greatly enjoyed the movie, perhaps in part because I went with someone totally inappropriate and brought plenty of Jack Daniels along.
If Clooney wasn’t already a Rock Star actor, he would have been some guy who was in a bad movie. But instead, it’s “George Clooney decided to do a silly movie.”
Hopefully you are working on developing your skills, your experience, your reputation, and yes, that is all part of your personal brand.