Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.

Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.


The term is thought to have originated from an article written by Tom Peters in 1997.

In Be Your Own Brand, first published in 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak wrote: “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”

Individuals sometimes associate personal names or pseudonyms with their businesses. Notably, 45th President of the United States and real estate mogul Donald Trump uses his last name on properties and other enterprises (e.g. Trump Tower).


Celebrities may also leverage their social status to support organizations for financial or social gain. For example Kim Kardashian endorses brands and products through her media influence.

The relationship between brands and consumers is dynamic and must be constantly refined.

Social Media

Personal branding has gained significance due to the use of the Internet.

Employers are increasingly using social media tools to vet applicants before offering them interviews. Practices include searching an applicant’s history on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and conducting background checks using search engines and other tools.

This is leading to the decline of resumes in favor of presenting other forms of personal branding. These may include links to a professional profile (such as LinkedIn), a personal blog, a portfolio of industry-related articles, and evidence of an online following. These efforts may improve a person’s chances of obtaining a job.


Personal branding involves the practice of self-disclosure. Disclosure to the details of one’s everyday life for other’s consumption, while transparency is the effect of this kind of disclosure. Transparency essentially works to give viewers a complete view of one’s authentic self.



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