What a "Personal Brand" is NOT

A personal brand is your promise to the marketplace and the world. Since everyone makes a promise to the world, one does not have a choice of having or not having a personal brand. Everyone has one. The real question is whether someone’s personal brand is powerful enough to be meaningful to the person and the marketplace.

I thought it would help to highlight what is NOT a personal brand. Here is a quick (partial) list:

1. It's NOT what you say about yourself.

In simple terms, what you say about yourself falls under the category of "freedom of speech." You can say whatever you want. Does not mean a thing. Your personal brand is an assessment the marketplace makes about who you are and what you bring to the marketplace.

2. It's NOT an extension of your employer's brand.

Unless you are self-employed, it is hard to extend your employer's brand to make it look like your personal brand.

3. It's NOT your presence in the social media.

Yes, social media can amplify your personal brand, but the presence itself cannot be a substitute for a personal brand. There are a few exceptions here, as some people have built a brand as social media experts and they live in the social media (for obvious reasons).

It is also NOT how "popular" you are in the social media. You can be entertaining (and funny) and become popular, but that does not automatically grant you authority unless humor is part of your offer to the marketplace.

4. It's NOT something that you can ASK for.

People give it to you when you deserve it.

5. It's NOT something that you are entitled to.

It does not come with a job position or a title. A job or title might help with your personal brand, but it can't be proxy for your personal brand.

6. It's NOT a perk.

It is not something a company can decide to give you as an "extra" because you did a good job.

7. It's NOT about the power alone.

While it provides you the power, a "personal brand" is mostly about giving. Power and influence are mostly the side benefits of your personal brand.

Here is something to think about:

What is it you are giving to the world that is so valuable that the world will reward you back with a powerful personal brand?

8. It's NOT a gift that someone can give you.

Someone cannot give you a gift of a "Personal Brand," but they can give you a gift to amplify an "already powerful" personal brand. A well-deserved link, an endorsement, a testimonial, etc., are all gifts that can amplify a personal brand.

9. It's NOT permanent.

It's not something that you can get and keep it for life. You have to work hard to get a powerful personal brand. But that's only the first step. You have to continue to work hard to keep that powerful personal brand and grow it.

[Cool Friend Raj Setty works with like-minded entrepreneurs to bring good ideas to life and spread their adoption. You can learn more about him at www.rajeshsetty.com or follow him on his blog, Life Beyond Code, or on Twitter @UpbeatNow.]