So, what IS the difference between personal branding, personal marketing and reputation?

Maybe I’m getting old, because I fancy having a rant. Why? Because the web is full of personal branding articles written by people who don’t REALLY understand what personal branding is. What they’re really writing about it Personal Bragging. So, I’d like to put the record straight write a few words to help anyone who’s struggling to tell the difference between Personal branding, personal marketing, social media, personal impact, personal presence and personal bragging. Oh, and reputation.

Here goes… in a nutshell…

Personal Brand

Your personal brand is your sense of self and your identity. It’s all the things that make you YOU. It’s who you think you are and then how you choose to express that. It’s an inside job, not shouty one. What I mean by inside is that it’s work you do internally.


Your reputation is what other people think of you. Poor Jeff Bezos got a little bit confused with this one and is famously known as saying that “your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Sorry Jeff, but no. What you’re talking about is reputation.

Personal Marketing

This is the act of getting other people to buy into you. It’s the art of persuasion in convincing other people to hire you, buy you, recommend you and refer you. It’s making yourself desirable and attractive to those who you think would benefit hugely from having you in their lives in some form or other.

Personal Presence

Personal presence is how you show up when I meet you. It’s your ability to leave a positive impression and be memorable. To be clear, I’m talking about in the real world – the kind where if one of us had stepped in dog poo, we would both be able to smell it – as opposed to the digital world. In the digital world, this is digital presence.

Personal Impact

It’s pretty much the same as personal presence. It’s how much of an impression to you make when I meet you (in a smelling dog poo kind of way). If you were aiming to land a date, then this is the equivalent of dressing sexy and flirting outrageously.

Personal Bragging

This is what you see EVERYWHERE by people who are “passionate about personal branding” and “social media experts” and is done by people who are super confused as to what personal branding actually is. You can spot this lot because they’re usually found shouting on social networks telling us how great they are all the time. If I wasn’t ranting, I’d probably calling this personal selling.

My up and coming articles for Fresh Business Thinking expand on this post, so, if you want a bit more detail than this coffee break overview, then I explain myself a bit more in a series of articles below.

What is personal branding anyway?

Personal Marketing vs Personal Impact


How it’s all connected


Or if you fancy ranting back or joining in – please do! …. In the comments please!