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Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. Personal branding also involves creating an asset by defining an individual's body, clothing, physical appearance, digital and online presence and areas of knowledge in a way leading to a uniquely distinguishable, and ideally memorable, impression. The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters.
Personal Branding is esentially; the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organization. Personal branding can often involves the application of one's name to various products. For example, the celebrity real-estate mogul Donald Trump uses his last name extensively on his buildings and on the products he endorses (e.g. Trump Steaks).
Today, added emphasis is placed on personal branding, especially in the online world. Employers are now increasingly using social media tools in order to vet applicants before offering them interviews. Such techniques range from searching the applicants Facebook or Twitter feed to conducting large background checks using search engines and other tools (for example, IP addresses).
Personal branding, self-positioning and all individual branding by whatever name, was first introduced in 1937 in the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The idea surfaced later in the 1981 book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout. More specifically in "Chapter 23. Positioning Yourself and Your Career - You can benefit by using positioning strategy to advance your own career. Key principle: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find a horse to ride".
It was later popularized by Tom Peters.