On the surface, a brand and a personal brand seem so similar that it’s not necessary to have two separate categories. In reality, they couldn’t be more different. A brand is an image designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. In most cases, companies spend a lot of time and money developing a brand. Committees form. Focus groups meet. Stress levels elevate until the perfect brand identity emerges.
Personal brands would fail miserably if developed under the same process. Personal brands are multifaceted snapshots of an individual. In short, it is your personality on display in a public forum. Personal brands thrive under the risk of being completely transparent. They are most effective when they appeal to a narrow, passionate audience.
While there are exceptions, most writers need a personal brand. You’re looking for passionate followers. They won’t be part of your word-of-mouth campaign until they connect with your personal brand – you.
Creating a personal brand is both easy and scary. It’s easy because you are just being you. In essence, you are an open book. However, not everyone is going to like what they see, and that is the scary part. It’s not fun being disliked, but it’s what happens when you build a passionate following. It always comes with passionate dissent. That’s when you know your message is working.
A word of caution – things said on the Internet tend to live forever. Be yourself, but be careful when building your personal brand.
8 comments to What’s the Difference Between a Brand and a Personal Brand?
This is a really good distinction to draw, Judith. I think many writers get stuck at the “brand” level, and don’t engage the “personal” side. It’s possibly because it IS so scary to be yourself in front of a public audience! All those fears of public speaking we developed in our high school rhetoric classes come roaring back. But, as you say, we’re looking for passionate followers, and no one wants to follow a diffident artist.
Hmm. Interesting distinction. As a writer, I’m working to creating my personal brand with my blog and my Website. I’m aware that everything I post in those spaces is a reflection of my writing skills and style, even when they don’t relate directly to my WIPs. I’m also conscious of using my Twitter presence primarily to develop my personal brand and I concentrate mostly on writing topics.
On the other hand, I’m also trying to create Brand for my husband’s <a href='http://theanimalstore.blogspot.com, and there are subtle differences. The work I do for his store has much more of a marketing bent. I think the lines are blurry, though, because we are also reaching for a narrow, passionate constituency that wants to support a small, independent, local pet store over the big boxes.
You’re so right, Kelly. It’s hard to know how much of yourself to reveal.
I agree that the lines are blurry. As you can see, my weblog here focuses mostly on writing while my Facebook and Twitter posts encompass all aspects of my life. I think you need both.
This is good advice. Thank you.
You’re welcome, and thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for your really helpful suggestions. My memoir, ‘The Cahmeleon in the Closet, A Conservative Jewish Mother Reaches Out to Her Orthodox Sons” will be available in June from Amazon so I’m working on my personal brand as a chameleon.
You’re welcome. Did we meet in at a restaurant in San Diego? If so, I remember our conversation. Congratulations on the release of your book.