Quo Vadis, Personal Branding?

The word personal branding, based on timeless principles of human interaction, was coined for the first time in 1997 by Tom Peters. More than 20 years later, we live in an age where a personal branding consultant is a normal job and the importance of curating your digital self is likened to visiting a doctor. Well, at least according to Matt Klein, the founder of PRSNL Branding; the first digital agency for emerging professionals’ online identities.

Okay, we know the past, we know the present, but what about the future of personal branding? Is it possible to see where things are going?

Read below to find out what we know so far about future personal branding trends.

Remaining relevant

For businesses, perfecting their niche, remaining relevant and making the most of video medium will be key

Social media coach and mentor Carl Ramallo stresses that you need to remain relevant and engage heavily with your prospective audience at all times. As soon as you stop doing this your customers will simply stop caring. Also, if your niche isn’t specific enough, you better start “pampering” it today. Being generic distances you from your target audience.

Another key factor that should help businesses stand out from the crowd lies in integrating real-time video because, “it’s great for business-to-business brands because they can insert thought leadership, instead of just advertising.” Yes, emotions play an important role in influencing your perspective audience and real-time video is, indeed, a cool content marketing strategy to differentiate your brand.

The latest statistics speak for themselves: In 2018, 52 percent of any site traffic is coming from mobile devices and two-thirds of that traffic on mobile devices will be via video. SnapchatBlabVinePeriscope and Facebook Live have their best days ahead of them.

Individuals as a business

Individuals will be viewed as businesses and this will make them think more about their personal brand

As you may have read before, up to 70 percent of employers are likely to look you up online. And things aren’t going to get any better (or worse? Depends how you look at it) in the future. The thing is, relying on AI to determine a candidate’s hiring worth will only become increasingly more mainstream. And much to our detriment, algorithms do not have the ability to understand the many desirable human qualities like charisma, workplace attitude and work ethic.

Personal branding will work best for those who are good at “self-packaging”, that is, whose branding is based in authenticity and a genuine desire to add value to those around them. Good personal branding is in no way about narcissistic “me, me, me” and endless posting on social media won’t push your career forward.

Why it matters

But why is there such a pressing imperative to build and maintain your brand in the first place? You’re not a product, are you?

Ilana Gershon, professor of anthropology at the University of Indiana, has some answers to this question as she spent a whole year interviewing and observing job seekers and employers in Silicon Valley and around the US.

She says that the employer-employee relationship is starting to resemble a contract between two business enterprises and personal branding’s primary function is to make people feel like they have control over their careers in an increasingly cutthroat job landscape. Gershon elaborates that “the self as business is a metaphor that people developed to think through how they can operate in a space which is completely defined by market logics”. If it’s impossible to have 100 percent control over your career, you can always choose to have 100 percent control over your online reputation. To fulfill our need to always stay ahead of the curve, some universities now offer online personal branding courses as part of their curriculum.

You can read more about Gershon’s research findings in her new book: “”.

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs.

Matt Arnerich works as a content writer over at specialists Inspiring Interns. He focuses on writing careers advice for everyone from recent graduates looking for their first internships or graduate jobs in London, to experienced professionals looking for senior roles.