How personal should you make your brand

What is personal branding?

A text by Ibrahim Evsan

Personal branding - you are the message

In 1997, the management coach Tom Peters first formulated the term “personal branding”, but without further defining it. Peters used "Brand You”As a new way of describing personal self-definition. The idea was taken up by many authors who dealt with the central question in their texts: "How do we present and market ourselves to others?"

But it was only the internet and social networks that gave everyone the means and opportunities to successfully establish their own personal brand. To stand out from the crowd, will your own (online) presence for the central tool. The focus is less on earlier achievements - as shown, for example, in the résumé or in job references - than content-related contributions and personal traits. Successful personal branding is also always authentic storytelling.

The topic "I live social media" is more relevant today than ever before. Only personalities who define themselves as “personal brands” will be able to generate the necessary attention in the future. Personal branding is a must - for managers, for freelancers, for scientists, but also for employees in companies. Anyone who makes or wants to make a relevant social contribution will not be able to do without personal branding in the future. Because in the end it is still people who communicate.

Personal branding has become a super trend. If you want to be noticed, you should develop your own brand with the help of storytelling - as a personal brand or as a corporate influencer. The necessary attention is generated via social media, with which expert status and opinion leadership are built.

This includes the following topics:

  • Personal brand / personal brand
  • Social CEO
  • Employer branding
  • Corporate influencer
  • Digital leadership
  • Ambassador of values
  • Social trademarks

On this page we give you an overview of what personal branding means, why it is becoming more and more important - and how you too can use personal branding to your advantage.


What is personal branding?

Personal branding can basically be described as "Person mark”Translate, that is, a brand whose content and values ​​are not only based on a product or a company's image, but also convey values ​​that are intended to help people rethink or re-understand topics.

It is common knowledge in social media that people are more likely to be followed than brands. Many managers are therefore ready today to make their knowledge public. You become one, so to speak Ambassador of values or promotional ambassadors.

A Person mark to be means to be perceived as such by others. It is the sum of all experiences that is evoked in others. That is why the brand is seen as the result of consistent action, a consistent message of values ​​and knowledge and as the end product of successful personal branding.

The Strategies all around personal branding primarily concern the areas of online and brand management, which are about

  • the real branding
  • the virtual representation and
  • clear and authentic communication is possible.

But in addition to the marketing of external factors, also play psychologically relevant questions a role that has to do with a person's core, their feelings and their character. It defines why a person wants to bring himself out into the public eye and with what content and intentions he is planning to do so. The prerequisite for a personal brand is not only professional competence, but also a good knowledge of yourself as a personality, your expectations, your strengths and weaknesses.

A strong “personal brand” means ...

  • a clear message that conveys ideas and values,
  • qualitatively relevant content that inspires other people,
  • sustainable and reliable quality of all messages,
  • individual style with a unique and clear positioning,
  • binding appearance, whether on social media or in society,
  • Reach in social media,
  • good press contacts,
  • extroverted and confident demeanor (e.g. as a keynote speaker) and the
  • Networkability, but also the availability of the person.
  • In the end, it is still essential that a digital mindset is developed.

"You deserve that the world knows you." (Quote from Social Trademark 2015)


What opportunities does personal branding offer?

Businesses are run by people. Today it is common for employees or executives to talk about the company or the products on the Internet in companies or projects. So that means: People come to the fore. This is exactly what personal branding is all about.

Personal branding helps to share your own messages, ideas, thoughts and visions and to successfully communicate your personality, skills and achievements to the outside world. Everyone has the chance to realize themselves and to gain a reputation in their field.

The aim this involves making one's own person visible and enhancing it: A “personal brand” becomes interesting - for business partners but also for employers and employees. The brand also contributes to a higher appreciation of the personal environment. For example, a company benefits when employees are perceived as strong personalities (corporate influencers). The topic is becoming increasingly important, especially for managers.

A distinction is made as follows:

  • Personal branding: People who position themselves as brands.
  • Corporate influencer: Companies that want to have an impact on social media with their employees. Corporate influencers are also the people in a company who set values ​​and inspire colleagues to work in a value-oriented manner.
  • Social CEO: Executives who are active in social media.
  • Employer branding: Companies that present themselves as attractive employers.

"Because people prefer to follow people rather than brands." (Quote Ibrahim Evsan, 2009)

Because we prefer to follow people rather than brands, the focus is on people. With a clear profile, an unmistakable identity with recognition value can be created, which can be conveyed to the outside world with a lot of personality and authenticity.

In this way you not only win over others, but also find better access to your own performance, personal characteristics and goals. With personal branding, entertainment is not in the foreground, but constant work on yourself, your own person, your own strengths and weaknesses.

Many people hardly think about their strengths. But we are mostly aware of our own weaknesses because we experience them every day. But today you sell your individual strengths better than ever. This is why social media is so important for personal branding in order to reach many people and to convince them of their own peculiarities: But make sure that you use sympathetic communication behavior and open-minded rhetoric to convince people of yourself. Your own presence in social media can be a decisive success factor. Provided you know how to use the channels properly. Because basic forms of politeness do not stop at social networks. It is important to differentiate between the various networks. Where do I stay and how do I want to present myself? Saving is recommended in professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing, while a casual tone and content is standard on Facebook. Authenticity is paramount. Nevertheless, you should always ask yourself before each post: How do I want others to interact with myself? If you think about it first and become aware of the effect of your words, you can not only use social networks as a multiplier for your own message, but also skillfully position yourself as a personality in public.

The three levels of personal branding - the cornerstone for your own marketing

Numerous decisions that affect many different aspects must be made on three levels. The following questions should give you an initial overview of the challenges and perspectives of successful personal branding strategies. They help you to develop the foundation for your own personal marketing.

1. Personal competence

  • In which professional area / specialist area am I active?
  • What experience do I have?
  • Where do I want to position myself? Do I have clear subject areas?
  • How do I rate my skills as a writer / writer of texts?
  • What goals and times do I have?
  • What is my budget?

2. Inner attitude and personality

  • How well can I assess my own strengths and weaknesses? How do I deal with criticism?
  • Am I convinced of myself and my work? How do I appear to the outside world?
  • Do I want to establish myself as a brand?
  • Am I open to new things and do I have the courage to experiment?
  • What personal ideas do I have for a public appearance? What expectations and fears?

3. The media

  • How do I assess my usage behavior in the field of new media?
  • Do I want to get involved in new experiences and use new communication strategies?
  • Do I have the technical know-how?
  • How much time do I want to spend on personal branding? How much time do I have for networking, topic research, writing and publishing articles?

Personal branding is a challenge - professionally and personally. It is therefore important to develop a strategy with clearly defined goals and wishes that corresponds to professional requirements and personal expectations right from the start. Because the professional environment and actual skills play just as important a role as realistic self-assessment and knowledge of one's own strengths, weaknesses and hopes, which should be fulfilled through successful self-marketing.

Personal branding: who designs your personal brand?

Many highly valued experts and professionals are not known across their industry. They do not use their knowledge, skills and competencies optimally to position themselves. In this case, the aim is to specifically build up a personal brand that will also be visible beyond your industry through your competence as an expert. Through this public perception and visibility, you have the opportunity to use and contribute your knowledge and skills effectively socially and professionally. This means that you will only take place when you are visible on the net.It is becoming increasingly clear: Companies need trained employees in order to be able to cope with the new requirements of digitization (including personal branding). Digital competence, which was previously considered an additional qualification, is now a must.

If you do not actively maintain your personal brand, your contributions and interactions with other users automatically draw a picture of you. Whether that fits your person is another matter. Each of us has brand characteristics. When designing them, however, it should not be about permanent self-presentation, but about relevant content and an authentic personality.

The following aspects make you successful and sustainable reputation building out:

  • The clear presentation of your technical, formal and social qualifications - the diversity is made visible.
  • The positioning for some selected ones Core issuesthat match your professional and technical ambitions - this is where you can quickly see in a company who has which expertise and what the other colleagues stand for.
  • The targeted and strategic integration of your personality and individual Strengthen.
  • A clear profilethat is tailored to potential employers and cooperation partners, but authentic.

Your design is really, really important. Because regardless of whether on the blog or on LinkedIn - the first thing that catches the eye of the visitor to your website or profile is your header. So this should be a real eye-catcher - and at the same time contribute to the recognition value of your person. Ideally, the header already says who you are and what defines you. Where there is plenty of room for creative gimmicks, there is also room to do a lot wrong. An overly intrusive design with bright colors can be just as daunting as overly simple and boring designs or pixelated photos. The most important thing is that the header fits your person, your product and, above all, the overall composition of the page. It should reflect your strengths, values ​​and position. While a good stock photo is enough for some people, others play with type design and unusual fonts. The combination of everything can also "catch" the visitor to a website.

Example: You should consider the following points when designing the header.

  • What should the header say about you?
  • Can pictures or graphics help?
  • Which colors do you want to use?
  • Do they fit together and with the rest of the design of the page?
  • Are they conspicuous, but at the same time not too gaudy?
  • Which font do you want to use?
  • Is it easy to read?
  • Does the header image match the format of the respective network?
  • Does your picture still look good on mobile devices?
  • How do friends and customers react?

The design of your personality represents an important part of your personality brand. But also more. For example your personality yourself. But that does not mean that private details find their way into social networks as a result. However, personal things could round off your profile. Take your time and check how you want to position your profiles. Your accounts should speak the same language.

The Building a personal brand comprises several steps:

  • Set 3 specific goals that you want to achieve with personal branding.
  • Find your topic.
  • Networking must be a natural companion in everyday life.
  • Communicate continuously and authentically on social media. The most important thing, however, is to do it yourself.
  • Establish relationships and expand your network.
  • Create a uniform banner for Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Build a suitable technical infrastructure (blog etc.)
  • Have the courage to be visible.
  • Use the same profile picture on all of your social media presences.
  • And make absolutely sure that the “digital-first way of thinking” is always taken into account.

If you do all the steps over and over again, your visibility and reputation will grow over time. But what sounds easy in theory is associated with work, time and energy in practice. You should be aware of that.

What is good personal branding? Content and context.

In order to become and stay visible on the internet, it is said afterwards: Content is King, but Context is Queen. Only those who share their knowledge and values ​​with others will be noticed, receive social recognition and thus generate new contacts and benefits for themselves.

You are the message. (Quote Ibrahim Evsan, 2009)

Good online reputation management includes:

In addition to exciting developments in hardware and software, the quality of the content remains the most important success criterion. In the huge range of content, only the highest quality posts prevail. This list also includes a corresponding visual appearance in which you should use the power of colors for yourself. If you as a startup entrepreneur only use pictures of business people in dark suits, you certainly look little or no authentic.


The 5 rules for successful content marketing

Content marketing is a reliable method to create added value and to strengthen the brand awareness of your own target group. A BBC study called "The Science of Engagement" has now examined the subconscious reactions of consumers and has shown how interaction with the user can be promoted through content marketing. The essence of the study was recorded in the following five rules, which can also make your content marketing successful:

  • Meet your readers transparently and create added value through your content
  • Make sure your content is of high quality
  • Communicate your goals and how an emotional interaction can support them
  • Consistently integrate your brand into the narrative framework of your content marketing
  • Place your content in a premium environment and support its credibility
  • Use tags and relevant hashtags
  • Prepare multiple posts and save them for later


Sovereignty in the blog: How to present your content successfully

In order to make content in a blog credible, interesting and attractive, you have to convince through sovereignty. Because as an expert you want to convey your knowledge through these texts, stimulate a professional exchange and consolidate your status as an expert in the field. How does sovereignty arise when one is dependent on purely written and visual means, which are mainly used in a blog? How can you make your broad knowledge available? How can you give new impulses, stimulate thought, but without over- or under-demanding the reader? The following aspects will help you to present your texts effectively.

1. Content level: Choose a topic that suits you

Choose current topics that relate to current trends, news and events. This will quickly arouse the reader's interest. The selected topics should correspond to your subject area or be applicable to it, because as an author you have to be familiar with the topic. With your background knowledge, you can also take up and comment on messages and contributions that have been published by others or add additions. Work on one topic per text and don't get bogged down in too many details. Focus on one message. In the end, it has to be understood and remembered. Structure your texts sensibly. This makes reading and understanding easier.

2. Linguistic level: Writing means showing personality

Always formulate for your target group that you have determined for your blog. In this way you prevent the language level you have chosen from over- or under-demanding the reader. Depending on your target group, you can decide whether to use technical terms in the text or, if necessary, provide explanations in order to address a wider audience. Be clear and not unnecessarily complicated. Complicated syntactic structures are therefore not recommended because the essentials of the texts of a blog should be grasped quickly. Because texts are often read while on the move or only skimmed over briefly. The central statements should also stay in the reader's mind, so the texts should above all be understandable. To ensure comprehensibility, it is helpful to have the texts read by a third party, who can check not only for content, but also for typing and spelling mistakes. Use visual effects for your texts. Not only in the running text itself - through highlighting and structuring - but also through images, logos, videos, etc. These support your message, arouse interest and ensure that the reader can remember the content better. In the end, the personal note rounds off the text. Show personality by using phrases, metaphors and idioms that are close to you, that identify you as a person. As a result, you not only write illustratively and individually, but also appear convincing and your texts are presented confidently.

3. Internet communication platform: fast, versatile, effective

The blog is considered a popular and modern communication channel. It stands for creative performance, for the uncomplicated publication of content and for open exchange. Use your texts to stimulate communication with the readers. Your opinion, comments and suggestions can set new impulses, create space for additional background information and thereby promote your sovereignty. The Internet as a communication platform also has the advantage that your texts can easily be linked to other, even third-party content. With links you can refer to sources, secure your opinion with further information or draw attention to previous publications. Publish regularly on your blog, but above all bring well-researched texts with your own ideas online. This creates a combination of well-founded texts and a personal touch, with which you can present your messages effectively and position yourself as an expert. Confident as an author and approachable as a person. In order to present texts in your blog successfully, it is important that their content corresponds to your field of knowledge and that they are up-to-date in order to arouse the reader's interest. The texts should also linguistically and creatively match your personal branding strategy and your personality, so that you as the author feel comfortable with the topic, the formulation and the presentation. Then the reader is - literally and figuratively - entirely on your side.

Typical mistakes when building a personal brand

Personal branding can make all the difference for executives. You gain expert status and not only benefit from it yourself, but personal brands within the company also have advantages for the company.

However, there are many people who fail to set up a personal brand. There are various reasons for this. They often make these seven mistakes:

  • They don't know the competition in their market very well. However, this is a prerequisite for establishing yourself as a successful personal brand.
  • The content - for example in the blog - is not relevant enough for the readers and the target group.
  • Content is not posted on a regular basis so that users can get used to it and rely on it.
  • You are too impatient. Building a personal brand is a long, intensive process and doesn't happen overnight.
  • You don't focus on a few channels, but try to be active everywhere. However, this is not effective.
  • Creating good content is one thing. However, many do not care or care too badly about the marketing.
  • Another big mistake when building a person brand is that too little personal is shared. But it is precisely the human aspect that defines a personal brand.

What does personal branding mean in a digital context?

Due to digital change and social networks, personal branding is developing into a “phenomenon”. It has never been easier to communicate your own personality. Nowadays everyone has the opportunity to position themselves as an expert. In addition to many obvious advantages, this also harbors considerable risks: If everyone can suddenly stylize themselves as experts, recognized experts fall behind - unless they actively see themselves as a personal brand.

The reason is that search engines like Google have become the biggest filter of our time - and this trend will continue. The search results have the greatest chance of being noticed on the first few pages. Only those who are listed here (with positive entries) have any chance of being perceived as an expert in the future. Basic rule: over 95% of people do not visit the second page of Google results.

A carefully constructed, comprehensive online reputation ensures that the search results truthfully reflect your own relevance and personality. Those who know how to implement their personal brand convincingly gain credibility in public and in this way ensure long-term success.

Why is digital leadership a topic for personal brands?

Digital leadership means leading people and organizations in an environment that is shaped by digitization. Digital leadership is therefore the fast integration of digital processes in your own environment. So also using the right tools and services.

That plays one today Key role In personal branding: The more tools and services for conveying the content flow together to form a coherent message, the better it is to represent one's own relevance in the digital networks. Social media must become a matter of course for leaders.

Examples of important tools and services:

  • Twitter: Networking with experts on your topic
  • LinkedIn: Publication of specialist articles on your topic
  • Instagram: Show with pictures and videos: What are you working on right now? What event are you currently at? Who are you traveling with?
  • Facebook: Networking in topic-specific groups that interest you.

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Corporate blogging: why your company should do it!

The possibilities opened up by blogging your own employees go far beyond classic press work and have so far only been successfully implemented by companies. There are a few reasons why your employees should also present your company to the outside world.

Corporate blogging offers these advantages:

  • You show yourself credible and authentic
  • You bind people to your company
  • You ensure a positive external impact
  • You improve your visibility on Google
  • You generate leads and build a community

The content doesn't have to be all about business. Therefore, a corporate blogger should be more of an all-rounder than a specialist. Identification with the corporate philosophy and yet the ability to describe topics from a higher-level perspective, these are the most important qualities of a good corporate blogger.

In addition to user loyalty and the improvement of your external image, direct feedback on products is also an advantage of corporate blogging that should not be underestimated.

In summary: In the future, experts from the business world will no longer be able to hide behind their company; People want personality, want stories, want emotions! Only a human can offer that. The goal is not to be omnipresent for everyone. The aim is to get to the desired target group and to become and remain incomparable and unforgettable in this "elite circle".

What is meant by the term “Social Trademark”?

The term "Social trademark”Was coined by Ibrahim Evsan. He realized that successful personal branding in the digital context is only about one holistic approach is possible. It is no longer enough to simply create a brand and build an image.

Rather, it's about a holistic reputation management

  • for individuals,
  • Associations and
  • Companies.

The agency founded by Ibrahim Evsan "Corporate Influencer GmbH”Offers a systematic approach for the first time, with which the full potential of digitization can be exploited and new standards can be achieved in areas such as personal branding, social selling and digital leadership.

What types of personal branding are there?

Personal branding cannot be reduced to certain types. Opinion leaders, coaches, politicians, athletes and artists are currently using this form of self-marketing. But more and more executives and companies are recognizing the benefits of personal branding. Especially on the LinkedIn platform.

What other terms are there for personal branding?

The idea of ​​personal branding is often used in German with terms such as "Self-marketing”, “Brand me”, “Branding in humans"Or - a bit wooden - also with the"Identification of a person as a trademark”Circumscribed.

However, these terms only cover partial aspects, since holistic personal branding can no longer be limited to classic marketing or branding techniques.

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Steve Jobs & Barack Obama - perfect authentic personal branding examples

Numerous entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and other opinion leaders show how good personal branding works. They have positioned themselves in public as experts in their field. So why not take a very close look? We can still learn a great deal from American personalities in particular.

Steve Jobs was considered the greatest innovator of his time because he remained true to his principles and said “no” when it came down to it. Without his person, Apple would be hard to imagine as the brand as we know it today. Barack Obama also showed how building a strong personal brand works and what effect a simple slogan like “Yes we can” can have. Like no other politician, Obama built his personal brand around the idea of ​​change - a very compelling concept in his industry.


Authenticity: what is it?

“Authenticity” has become a household word in recent years. And even if most people can no longer hear it, the feature in itself remains worth striving for. Even if it may seem as if hipsters and ambitious self-marketers have appropriated the term for themselves in recent years, the phenomenon has a long history. In Greek, authentic means “found to be original”, “true”, “sincere”, but also "Lord" and "Powerful". The concept of authenticity became relevant again in the modern age, for example with Rousseau and Herder, who philosophized about the authentic self in the 18th century. In the 1960s, everyday life in the left-wing alternative milieu was supposed to become more authentic, meaning more self-determined and more conscious, also with regard to one's own weaknesses.

Even in the age of the new economy, self-fulfillment is an ideal for most people, but they are faced with new challenges. You are constantly training yourself, at the same time the working conditions become less secure. Old values ​​have to be constantly rethought, the identity is less established.

Anyone who wants to radiate authenticity today must above all deliver what they promise. Charisma alone is not enough, it depends on the right combination of convincing actions and private openness, without crossing the line to intimacy.

What you will also be interested in about authenticity:


Storytelling and personal branding belong together

There is also a lot to learn from celebrities when it comes to storytelling. Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift are not just models, actresses and musicians. Your personal brands stand for much more. All three show how you can anchor yourself and your message with a coherent story in the recipient's memory.

You can find out how you can use storytelling for your own personal branding in the following articles:


What parallels are there with classic branding?

Branding in the traditional sense includes developing a clear positioning as well as building and maintaining a specific image. The aim is to use classic marketing-public relations and networking to become a recognized expert in his subject area and to further strengthen this position in the future.

You build your own reputation in a targeted manner and ideally your own name develops into a brand name. This is then associated with statements, messages and your own values. You gain expert status and become an opinion leader who determines the topics on the agenda yourself.

Here are more examples of how celebrities use personal branding:

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What is personal branding not?

Personal branding is not acting. It doesn't mean that the person is slipping into a role or bending himself to accommodate outside expectations. Only those who authentically represent their own personality will be able to develop themselves into a strong brand.

Appearing personally and credibly to the outside world does not mean that you have to disclose your private life. Hobbies and passions can contribute to personal branding, but family and intimate matters do not play a role in self-marketing.

Personal branding is also not to be equated with classic employer branding. However, personalities within a company can make a valuable contribution to the “employer brand”.


For building a successful personal brand, we have provided a checklist in which you can keep an eye on all relevant aspects of personal branding.

Preparation and strategy for personal branding

  • Define your goal profile.
  • Identify your core issues.
  • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make yourself aware of whether you want to communicate best via texts, videos, pictures or podcasts.
  • Analyze your target audience.
  • Choose the individually suitable networks.
  • Be personal, but not too private.
  • Research thematically relevant blogs and other sources and read them actively.
  • Establish a personal image - in design and style.


Implementation of a personal branding strategy

  • Build your own blog as the center of your personal branding.
  • Publish high quality articles on a regular basis.
  • Read and answer questions and comments.
  • Contribute constructively to technical discussions on your topics.
  • Comment on thematically appropriate blogs as well as in specialist forums and networks.
  • Access articles, quote from them on your blog and link to other specialist blogs.
  • Make active contacts and expand your network in a targeted manner.
  • Also visit specialist congresses, trade fairs and other offline events.
  • Actively maintain contacts you have made once and keep looking for contact with your network partners.
  • Offer your network partners and readers added value through high quality, networking with other contacts and active recommendations.