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  • Writer's pictureRyan-O'Neil Allen

Personal branding. What's the fuss about?

Does it really matter that much? How do we get started?

A new decade has begun and as we all start to take on the new year, brands are all around us, trying to get our attention online and offline. But, what about us, as consumers? As the tech world offers more options for building brands or companies, is it time to start our own? Well, Gary Vaynerchuk, for those who have never heard of him, has become the guru, of branding and social media, with his millions of subscribers on YouTube and cutting interviews daily, speaks about the power of a personal brand.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States in 1978 at the age of three. At the age of 14, he joined his father's wine business taking its revenue from $3 million a year to $60 million by 2003, with an online strategy he created. It's no surprise, he was able to launch his own brand Vayner Media with all his experience and flair for business.

So, it's fair to say, Gary Vee knows what he's talking about. Like him or not, he produces results. Gary Vee never holds back, and tells people the truth, and that in itself, is adored by millions of followers, where 'adding value' is all that matters to the serial entrepreneur, with a schedule and daily activity on social media, that would make your brain implode.

The guru spends all his waking hours, across the web, filmed by his friend and colleague DROCK, who is with him everywhere. Gary Vee will no doubt be noted in history as the man, who championed social change and entrepreneurship on a global scale with a personal fortune of $160 million.

What Is A Brand?

A brand is an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others. A combination of one or more of those elements can be utilised to create a brand identity. Legal protection given to a brand name is called a trademark.

On the surface of this definition, we can assume that we are all a brand in some way, and it's not just about being a celebrity or a retail brand. Every person has a unique talent and a personality, and that can be the brand. Let's be honest, there's so much out there, tech-wise, that allows any Joe, to build a brand. It takes self-awareness, confidence, and guts, to get a brand off the ground.

I always thought that a brand was only, for God's, with perfect bodies and money on tap, which is so far from the truth. Anyone technically could create the appearance of a brand, but as Gary always talks about, it's your personal story and self-awareness, with hard work and commitment will eventually convert into a successful brand. If, we want it.

TV, Film or Celebrity

We all know celebrities, have in many ways voluntarily signed up to a life of media scrutiny. It's part and parcel of the lives they lead.

You don't need to be a celebrity to be a brand. You just need to know, what is your burning passion and how you can monetise this effectively, using social media and digital platforms. That may for some, sound quite easy, but it isn't. Gary Vaynerchuk makes the point, that being aware of who you are, is far more important to know, before starting a brand. Getting this right first is crucial to a brand's success. Be honest and authentic.

So, take the time to explore your true identity. What makes you, you? It is a question, that's not going to be so easy to answer, but it's important to get clear about this. Once, you have this clarity, you can begin getting your brand built.

Personal Branding. How?

There was a time when the internet didn't exist. And, the Apple brand was unknown. But, of all the brands out there, those who have been willing to adapt, have remained relevant and ultimately, consumers loyal to them.

Brands exist because they have a story to tell. They solve people's pains and stay connected by listening and observing what the audience wants. Your brand must be aware, in the same way. If you're an actor, teacher, doctor, nurse, whatever you do, you will have an impact on people's lives, and this can be monetised in many different ways, it all depends on whether you want to pursue this or not. The decision is yours.

The first step is knowing who you are and what you enjoy. Everyone has a story, define what that story is and use this to your advantage to build your brand. Read the book, written by Gary Vee called 'Crushing It.' This will help anyone, who needs some guidance on the branding idea.

The Next Step

At the Brand Thinker, we know personal branding requires effort and focus, so when anyone takes the next step, it's important to remember you're creating a portfolio of your life, carefully sewn together into a brand. This is a great experience, for those willing.

We advise anyone, who plans to create a brand, seek support from an experienced graphic designer who understands brand styling. Of course, there are various online resources out there to get a logo designed, but in our experience, it is far better, to find a designer who develops 'brands, and not just logos. The investment is worth it.

So, is personal branding an important part of people's lives? Yes. To live in 2020, is a gift and all the resources we have at our fingertips, gives no one any excuses to say, it's not achievable. If you have a plan, and gain the right advice, from creatives who know about the design and style of a brand, then you are on the way to a great head start. Trust in your ability and look at your life work, focus on your strengths, and your life story.

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