But you should have one anyway.
Brands are on all our minds all the time. We are bombarded with them on a daily. From adverts, billboards, branded content and YouTube channels, we are assaulted every waking minute. And in the age of perpetual connectivity, social media and Kardashians, every Tom, Dick and Jane wants a personal brand.
The idea perpetuated is that if you are define and become a brand, that people will listen to you, you will build an audience and eventually a business or at least parlay that it of fame into new opportunities, better jobs etc.
And to an extent it is true, in a society of the spectacle like ours, visibility and perception can do a lot. You push a message long enough and become known as ‘that guy’, a lot of attention can flow to you. That attention can turn into profit.
But you are a human being, you are a walking contradiction and you have multiple sides depending on context. Who wants to spend all that time carefully curating Instagram posts, only talking about your ‘core’ topics, and trying hard not to offend anyone. Managing multiple social media platforms. For most people, it is simply exhausting.
What is a brand though? A promise made and kept. An expectation people have of you. A brand separates you from others like you. A brand communicates a core idea.
You are a human being with a wide and varied, probably meandering life story. You have interests and obsessions. You have skills and abilities. You have a voice and an opinion. You have strengths and a contribution to make. You have something you want to give. If you think really hard about it, there is probably the golden thread that ties all of it together. There is an over arching theme. If you understand what that is and can communicate it effectively, there can be clear benefits.
Having a personal brand allows you to quickly communicate who you are, what makes you special and what you have to offer. It can be the thing that brings you top of mind when you are searching for a job. It can help you find and nurture your tribe, people who believe what you believe. It can even turn profitable.
The best personal brands are authentic. They bubble up naturally from a life that is dedicated in pursuit and expression of an ideal. Tim Ferris as a brand is inextricably tied with the ideals of peak performance and life optimization. Oprah as a brand is deeply entwined with her work connecting with people and bringing a message of wholesomeness and growth.
You cannot help but live and breathe your brand if it pours out from a true sense of who you are, as opposed to a cheap façade of what you think would appeal to the most people. Your brand is a mix of what you do and how you do it, the special flavor you bring to the table.
You are a full and complex human being, but you can have a brand. And in a world of some much noise and opportunity. A strong brand can help you live your best life.