What is the Difference Between Personal Image and Personal Brand?

Your personal image is a billboard.

People start making assumptions about people within seven seconds of seeing them. This fact can be used as a powerful tool in the business arena, or it can be a terrible burden that must always be overcome. The beauty of this fact is that it is controllable. You are always in control of how people perceive you visually. With a little analysis and planning it can be harnessed as something more than just a self confidence booster; it can become a revenue generating, dream career attracting personal brand.

The word brand has become a key term in recent years almost to the point of eye roll worthiness; however, I still love it. Just saying it denotes some sort of status. Brand, say it, it rolls off the tongue and immediately you think of well-known companies with recognizable names. Nike, Apple, Hilton, Louis Vuitton, some of these names are so well known they no longer need words in their logos just symbols.

These are professional brands as we know them in the traditional sense but there is another type of brand in the business world and that is the personal brand.

The personal brand is the outer appearance, behavior, and message of an individual. How is this different from personal image? Well . . . it is not, really, except I find brand to be a much more accurate verbiage when referring to image in the business arena. Much like the professional brands above are using their logos, company culture, and messaging to attract target customers to their businesses individual people can use the personal equivalents to attract their dream careers to them.

At the end of the day its all about letting people know what you are all about and that you are the place they can find the answers to their problems. In our fast-paced world it is hard to get people to stop and take notice. Of course, you can try making lengthy presentations explaining what you are all about, touting your expertise and passion for your craft. However, in a Twitter universe we now only get about two minutes (or however long it takes you to read 140 characters) to capture a person’s attention.

What does make people stop and take notice? Shiny things. Now I’m talking metaphorically here (unless you would like to go literal, and your personal brand preference is to wear sequins everyday but more on that in future blog posts). People, or audiences as I like to refer to them in my trainings, stop and pay attention to things they find visually pleasing. This is why Instagram and TikTok are such huge sensations. Audiences are visual. It is how we connect. It is how we start gathering information about what a person is like. It is why a post that contains graphics, pictures, or emojis are more likely to be read, followed, and commented on then those that are not.

You must become the imagery people want to click on in real life. Does it mean you have to conform to something you are not? No. Does it mean you have to spend an extreme amount of money or time? No. It does; however, mean you need to become aware of all the ways YOUR personal brand can be cultivated, and I am here to help.