We've been discussing personal brands at Fast Company for a while now--like since 1997--but most of the time when we discuss the Brand Called You, we fittingly focus on Twitter tai chi and LinkedIn leverage. While these mediums are essential, we do live at least some of our lives offline--and your personal brand is present there, though you don't get automated emails about it.
What we need, then, is a more holistic perspective. Writing for Forbes, Glenn Llopis supplies us with one: "A personal brand is the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are."
Your personal brand is the way people receive you; as Llopis says, it's what you represent as a person. Strategists talked about how brand is the impression that you walk away with after connecting with a company; it follows, then, that your personal brand is the emotional sum with of the interactions you have with people, both offline and online.
Think about the myriad interactions that we have in our working lives: meetings, conferences, meetups. Llopis says that in all of these cases, we should be mindful of what others are experiencing when they're around you. They're all like job interviews, he says--in each case, you're being evaluated.
This, he says, will cause a shift in perspective:
... when you start to see yourself living through the lens of a brand...you will become more mindful about how you approach the personal brand you are trying to define and aiming to live.
Personal branding doesn't have to be worrisome. As Llopis says, personal branding isn't acting the part--performing all day will drain you--but rather the consequence of living with authenticity. Like a wise woman once said, "brand is an exhaust fume from you running the engine of your life."
[Image: Flickr user Kurt Haubrich]