The Importance of Personal Branding

Every brand has an emotional personality – favorable, neutral or negative.

This concept applies to a person as well as a product, but most people do not realize that they are a living brand with characteristics similar to the brands of the products that they buy. They elicit an emotion in the image that they project just like the positive, negative and neutral emotions inherent in all the products in their marketplace.

The goal of marketing is to win the battle for the customers mind, or in other words to own a position in their mental product grid. The mind is like a dripping sponge and the only way to get into the mind is to displace something that already exists. The challenge for marketers is to first get into the mind and second to stay there by reinforcing and owning a share of mind. This is called establishing “brand equity.”

Every day, new products and brands are being introduced attempting to displace existing brands by offering a faster, better or cheaper solution. To be able to displace what already exists any new product has to go through a rigorous evaluation process by consumers to demonstrate why it is better than what already exists and they currently prefer. It typically is a long process to change a customer’s mind and have them switch from what works for them, and has been satisfying their requirements for some time.

Of course, this time period varies by different customer types and their individual propensity for change. Another factor is their value perceptions and where they are in their natural life cycle. Younger consumers are more receptive to change and older consumers are less so.

The ultimate decision factor for most brands is how successful their marketers are in developing and promoting the “unique value proposition” of the brand. In other words what is the critical emotional value that the brand projects that creates a need in the mind of the customer. It’s been said that perception is reality in marketing.

The more conceptually and emotionally appealing the unique value perception is the more positive the brand personality will be perceived e.g. Apple, Tesla, Amazon, etc. For example, Oil of Olay, has been described as “magic in a jar.”

As you can see there is a certain science to marketing. While not as precise as engineering or chemistry, it has its own quasi-scientific methodology.

How does this same marketing type science apply to people?

Basically, the same way. People are perceived favorably, unfavorably or neutral, by the value proposition that their appearance, persona and behavior projects. Personal branding, a relatively new concept, is a process that helps people develop their own emotional brand perception.

In essence, it is designed to introspectively examine your internal skill set and persona so that you can develop your unique value proposition to be able to market yourself more effectively. It also allows you to better understand your personality profile and those of others so that you can deal with them more productively, as well.

As you already know, the more positively a person is perceived the more successful they are and vice versa.

So whether it is a product or a person, the 4 P’s (product, promotion, price and place) apply as much to you as the products that you buy.

What is your unique value proposition/personal brand?

Robert M. Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. His consultancy business is called His corporate life was spent in executive positions with IBM, Pfizer and EXXON and then as the CEO for several U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinational firms. Professor Donnelly is on the faculty of Saint Peters University as well as Rushmore University, a global online university. His latest book is Personal Brand Planning for Life, available on Amazon. He also functions as an interim executive. You can contact him at or visit his website at