• Personal Branding vs. Image: What’s the Difference?

    Posted by in Impression Management, Your Authentic Brand, Your Professional Image With | 1 Comment

    I’ve been meaning to answer this question for quite some time and was surprised that no one has beat me to it. That’s probably because there are very few individuals who are experts in both areas.

     

    Image and brand are often used interchangeably when describing how people are presenting themselves or their company. In fact, they are distinctly different.  Image is only the visual representation or packaging. A brand is the “experience” the individual, product or company represents. In other words, your image is only one aspect that communicates your personal brand. So, I’m always surprised when I hear graphic designers and business owners referring to a logo or others talking about “appearance” as a brand.

     

    Personal Branding is your communication of your unique strengths, skills, values and passions.  It is the communication of the entire package of experience, education, results, verbal and non-verbal behaviors combined with physical appearance and what you choose to surround yourself with.  The way you project these traits can help you stand out from your peers or competitors to clearly communicate your unique value. Over time, your personal brand becomes your reputation and how people describe you.

     

    Successful personal branding is about identifying the qualities that differentiate you and project authenticity.   To be authentic, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals, vision, purpose, values, and passion.  Ask yourself, “Is my behavior consistent with my values?” 

     

    Before you can communicate your value, you need understand how you are perceived and what is of value to your target audience.  This is at the core of the personal branding process.  The process helps you see a complete picture of yourself and empowers you to be able to manage how others view you.  Once you’ve developed this kind of clarity, you can begin to communicate your unique value.  Your personal brand is the sum of your image, what you do, and who and what you surround yourself with.  And remember, everything that is visual sends a message about who you are.

     

    As a personal brand strategist, I am able to take the work I do as an image consultant to a much broader and deeper level to help individuals develop strong personal brands.  Together, we strategize the communication plan and determine how to visually represent your brand in both the real and on-line worlds.

    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Anonymous » 28. Oct, 2009

Great post Diana. It’s such a common misunderstanding that personal branding is skin deep – the way a person or their logo looks. As you rightly point out, visual identity is only one aspect of brand communication.
The biggest mistake people make is to rush into getting a logo designed – or worse, purchasing a stock logo – before they have defined their brand and truly understood what they want to communicate, and to whom. It’s akin to choosing a cheap outfit without considering whether it suits their personality – and then wearing it for ever more!
A strong visual identity, created from a deep understanding of the individual and their target market, should be regarded as a valuable investment that memorably communicates the essence of their brand and becomes consistently associated with it.

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