Branding is only part of what makes a company successful. Branding is the part that people see, but it’s not what actually exists. Of course branding is important in business. But what’s more important is the cash flow, balance sheet, and other indicators of the overall health of a company.
We all use the term personal branding, but we should actually be thinking about ourselves as personal corporations. Our personal and professional potential is tied to much more than the way in which others perceive us. There are many internal factors that determine our value as a friend, connection, employee, or boss.
Whether we identify it or not, we all participate in daily exchanges of value in social situations. Social media has only amplified this reality by speeding up these transactions, and giving us platforms and metrics to watch and track their occurrence. This is why someone with 500 followers on Twitter might be able to command twice as many clicks and responses as someone with 2,000. We all value each other in different ways, we just don’t usually decide to quantify these traits.
Social capital is what decides a person’s value in social situations, and this reality is not adequately defined by the term “personal brand”. We are not just branding ourselves, we are incorporating ourselves. We are running a personal corporation with assets, liabilities, and equity.
We must begin to think of ourselves as corporations instead of brands in order to fully maximize our value. Obviously, we can’t (yet) quantify how every social interaction affects our personal corporations bottom line, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of it.