“Companies don’t care about your personal brand.” When I read this on a popular job forum the other day, my initial reaction surprised me. I thought to myself, “that is absolutely right, companies don’t care about your personal brand.” Certainly not what you would expect to hear from someone who – in this very blog – strongly promotes having a personal brand. Here is the truth. Companies shouldn’t care about your personal brand. In fact, companies shouldn’t even know you have a personal brand. But that doesn’t mean a personal brand isn’t important.
Think of your personal brand like deodorant. People don’t care that you wear deodorant. People shouldn’t be aware that are wearing deodorant. Like deodorant, a personal brand – when employed correctly – should go unnoticed. It should simply appear as if that is just who you are. And here’s the kicker. It is who you are.
Maybe personal branding is frequently derided because the term ”personal brand” is too strong. It sounds like so much more than it is. So when someone says “personal branding is ridiculous,” many people cheer. “I am not a product! Down with personal branding!” But few would jump on board if someone said “Having a set of professional guidelines for how you present yourself is ridiculous.”
Simply put – especially when it comes to career development – it is important to have a clear idea of what differentiates you. It is also important to know how to communicate your unique skills in a clear, consistent and cohesive way. That is a personal brand.