Personal Branding explained – plus how to create a personal brand

Wouldn't it be amazing to have your name or company be instantly recognisable? You can do this with personal branding, and in this guide, we tell you how to get there.

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Regardless of how different Oprah Winfrey or Gordon Ramsay might be, what they have in common is that they both have built strong personal brands. Just from hearing their names, you can immediately picture the characteristics that define them.

As a business, you want to achieve the same associative reflex with your customers so they can immediately identify your brand. But, reaching that end goal is not something to be left to chance. Personal branding is a meticulous marketing strategy that needs persistence and authenticity, so that your target audience can know innately who you are. In a market where users are constantly flooded with adverts and information, making a good impression could be the difference between someone buying from you or a competitor.

There’s a fine line between personal branding being a vanity show and a clever marketing strategy. In this deep dive, we’ll give you the building blocks you need to make sure you’re doing the latter. We’ll tell you how to launch your personal brand, help you understand the benefits and give you some inspiring examples to get started.

What is personal branding?

Your personal brand is how you promote yourself to your target audience. In other words, you intentionally create a profile that is guided by values, skills, experiences and products that reflect what you stand for. This spans all the way from the aesthetics of your website to the unique selling point of your products and services.

Your personal brand might be partly in your own control – the information you put out on your site, marketing or social feeds – and partly how other parties, including the media, portray you. So, you’ll want to be careful about what you share and how you allow yourself to be presented. In this digital age, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, anything on the internet is permanent.

Having a strong personal brand is the perfect method of differentiating yourself from competitors as your personal brand – as you guessed it – is personal to just you.

To build a personal brand, you should ask yourself what valuable knowledge you can share on an industry or topic; what’s your unique point of view; and, how you can make your authentic personality dazzle.

Benefits of personal branding

Personal branding might feel like a daunting exercise, but it’s a rewarding marketing strategy replete with benefits. Here are some you can keep in mind.

  • Helps control first impressions – Although you can’t always fully control what people think of you, personal branding helps you at least maximise your chances that you receive positive impressions. With personal branding, you can tweak how you present yourself to current and potential clients, helping you be memorable for all the right reasons.
  • Makes you feel more approachable – Some 84% of millennials trust neither the advertisements nor the brands that create them, yet they are prepared to believe people they feel they know. Building your personal brand can make you appear more relatable, human, and approachable. This can foster better trust among your target audience and improve conversions.
  • Positions you as an expert in your field – Personal branding is all about foregrounding your unique contribution to an industry. Whether that’s your experience or your hot takes on business trends, you’re setting yourself aside as an expert. This helps your target audience come back to you as a reputable source, boosting your authority and trust.
  • Competitive advantage – A robust personal brand can help open new horizons of business opportunities. When others identify you as an expert in your field, they’ll be more likely to give you opportunities to collaborate on new projects, connecting you with potential customers.

Five examples of successful personal brands

You know you’ve mastered your personal brand when people hear your name and need no further explanation as to who you are and what you do. Here are some examples of prominent individuals who have aced their personal branding strategy.

Oprah Winfrey

  • Why her branding works: Without even needing to hear her last name, most people will already recognise Oprah. She consistently built a philanthropic persona through her talk show and charity work, making her personal brand feel genuine and relatable. At the peak of her success, she had an impressive average of 12 to 13 million viewers each weekday and became the first black female billionaire in 2003.
  • What you can learn from her: The last thing you want is for potential customers to be able to easily poke holes in your personal brand. Being consistent and authentic is the perfect antidote for that. Staying true to your intentions and being cohesive in your message will make your personal brand trustworthy.

Marie Kondo

  • Why her branding works: Known as the de facto godmother of tidying up, Marie Kondon has made a name for herself as a tidying consultant, award-winning author and TV host. Her name is now easily associated with the KonMari Method, a streamlined way of decluttering your space. Her book has more than 17,000 five-star reviews on Amazon alone and has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The reason it all works so well is because her concept of decluttering translates smoothly into her online presence, particularly her website. The minimalist aesthetic and clean-looking online profile matches her values and message well.
  • What you can learn from her: in personal branding, consistency goes beyond just what you say and write. It should also reflect in the way your content looks. Branding everything from your website to your socials can go a long way in making your personal brand look cohesive and convincing.

Gary Vaynerchuk

  • Why his branding works: Known as an incredibly prolific American entrepreneur, Gary has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, an ability to execute quickly, and a track record of business success. His personal brand revolves around honesty and transparency, making entrepreneurship feel less like a romanticised process and more like a relatable one. He’s a five-time best selling author and serves as the chairman of VaynerX, a media and communications holding company. His ‘realness’ makes his personal brand feel more relatable, which is key if you want to foster trust among your target audience.
  • What you can learn from him: Having a knack for telling things how they are can be really attractive for a target audience that is tired of being aggressively marketed to. Having a relatable approach can make you feel more trustworthy and human.

Mark Cuban

  • Why his branding works: when you hear his name, you probably automatically think of Shark Tank and entrepreneurship. That’s because he’s managed to continually provide value to his followers through social media content by having a unique take on scaling businesses. His unique takes makes him a differentiated source that his target audience can revisit, because they’ll know they’ll gain something new.
  • What you can learn from him: Personal branding is not just about having any online presence – it’s about having a different online presence. When strategizing your content output, always keep your target audience in mind. Understand how you can give them value and what makes you different from your competition.

Elon Musk

  • Why his branding works: An undeniably controversial figure, Musk has successfully built a personal brand off the back of being consistently unique. Although he may provoke rowdy online debates, his name and tech empire is instantly recognisable, in part because of this. His uniqueness and fearlessness of controversy makes his personal brand robust.
  • What you can learn from him: Tread cautiously. Although building a personal brand on controversial foundations isn’t a sound idea, leveraging your uniqueness definitely is. Don’t be afraid to engage in public conversations, post topical and valuable content, and highlight your unique take.

Steps to create your personal brand

Building a personal brand is a deliberate process that has some crucial steps you won’t want to skip. Here’s what to do to get started:

  • Define your goals and values: Whether this means writing them down on paper or having a serious brainstorm session, you need to clearly outline what values your personal brand stands for. This will help you define what metrics and goals you want to set for yourself. For instance, if you want to build a personal brand that stands for living sustainably, you’ll need to think about what’s going to separate you from competitors and what area of sustainability you want to focus your niche on.
  • Identify your target audience: Now that you have a niche, you need to find the place where your target audience is most likely to reside. If you want to target a GenZ audience, chances are your content will find more success on social media platforms like TikTok. Understand that a personal brand will never be a catch-all solution. It’s natural that there’ll be people that don’t identify with your personal brand.
  • Create a brand strategy: Now that you’ve identified your target audience, you need to ask yourself what type of value your content and brand could provide. What are your content pillars going to be? In other words, what is your unique angle going to be, compared to your competitors? Remember you don’t want to just be another voice in the chorus, you want to be the lead singer.
  • Developing a brand identity: With this foundation set, you can start building your brand. Whether this is through the launch of a new product, social selling on LinkedIn, or having a unique social media presence, ensure you’re always staying true to what your brand stands for. Consistency is key to acing this step.

Maintaining and growing your personal brand

  • Leverage social media – it’s nearly impossible to build a personal brand without an online presence. Being active on social media is a fast-track tunnel that directly connects you with your target audience. Posting valuable content regularly is key to growing and solidifying your online brand. Make sure to also use engagement tools such as polls and Instagram Lives to create a two-way conversation with your audience. The more reachable, relatable, and approachable you seem, the better.
  • Network strategically – going on a LinkedIn connection spree isn’t the best way to build your personal brand. Instead, you want to go for quality over quantity. Find people with similar interests, who are engaged in similar conversations and topics, and surround yourself with others who want to also become thought leaders in your industry. Building your narrative through similar connections will help your brand feel more cohesive and believable, making it easier for your target audience to find and trust you.
  • Build your authority – in order to make your brand a point of reference in your industry, you need to consistently build your authority by posting and sharing valuable content. This could be a unique take on the future of AI if you’re in the tech industry or unveiling your hot take on what the four day working week means for HR teams if you’re in the recruitment sphere. Whatever it is, it should be true to your brand and differentiate you from the competition so you can bolster your authority.


While at first glance, personal brand building might seem like a vanity show, it’s in fact far more sophisticated. Done intelligently, personal branding is a smart way of marketing yourself and your business while fostering trust among your target audience. Crucially, it can make you stand out from the competition.

Personal branding can be a great way of bulking your network and finding new business opportunities, all by simply being yourself. By identifying values that feel true to your brand and posting content that adds value, you’ll start setting the foundation for becoming a household name in your industry.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why is personal branding important?
    Personal branding is a robust way of fostering trust among your target audience by championing the values you and your brand stand for. It helps you have a differentiating edge over your competition, which can help drive sales.
  • How can I create a successful personal brand?
    You need to follow four steps to set the foundation for a successful personal brand. These are the steps to follow: define your goals and values, identify your target audience, create a brand strategy, and develop your brand identity through thought leadership and social media. The key is to be consistent with your message.
  • What are the benefits of having a strong personal brand?
    A strong personal brand is a great way to separate yourself from the competition and clearly spell out what you and your brand have to offer. It also helps you establish authority and trust among your target audience, which is a reliable sales magnet.
Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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