The Difference Between Personal and Professional Branding

Branding is an important marketing feature in the twenty-first century. Personal and professional branding is closely related but these two types of branding hold distinct features that delineate the two from traditional word-of-mouth advertising. Understanding how personal and professional branding combines talents, characteristics, qualities, and values from each component is necessary for developing a solid marketing foundation. People entering into the world of self-promotion benefit from understanding the differences between personal and professional branding and how to use the modern-day tools for these components of branding. Analyzing successful and unsuccessful instances of branding is necessary for avoiding mishaps in professional branding.

The Difference Between Personal and Professional Branding

Using image to elicit reaction is integral to modern day advertising and marketing. The Internet and social media have provided a platform for anyone who wants to develop a brand, making personal and professional branding easier for the average person entering into self-promotion. Deckers and Lacy (2013) describe branding as the creation of “an emotional response to the image or name of a particular company, product, or person” (p. 7). Understanding the difference between personal and professional branding is necessary for using each component correctly.

Personal and Professional Branding

Personal branding and professional branding are synonymous ideas in the world of self-promotion. A personal brand is the human aspect of the professional brand. Employers expect authenticity from prospective employees so distinguishing the difference between the two is necessary for gainful employment. Potential employers seek information about skills, work experience, quality of work produced, and quantity of work performed, which is professional branding. However, the modern employee should add a human touch to professional branding to create personal branding. Career Reinvention and Personal Brand Coach Randi Bussin (2015) describes persona branding as the ability communicating to the target audience unique skills, strengths, passions, and values of a personal brand. Combining the two concepts of personal and professional branding is an important part of successful and gainful employment.

Right Tool for the Right Job

Differentiating between personal and professional branding is an important skill especially when using social media for self-promotion. Social media is an excellent platform to engage clients and followers with information pertaining to personal and professional endeavors (LePage, 2014). Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are avenues of branding in social media. Potential clients and prospective employers want to know about professional accolades and want to see personal material mixed in because this makes the personal brand authentic. A professional photographer could use the social media site Instagram to post photos of photo shoots. This allows future clients to determine quality of work. The photographer should occasionally post photos of a messy desk during an editing session because this gives the work a human feel.

Branding: How-not-to and How-to

Unsuccessful Branding

In May 2015, a story broke on the Internet of scandalous proportions. The Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting fame covered up sexual molestation in their household. A review of the Duggar’s website indicates that this family’s brand is virtue, modesty, and Christian living but the legal disclosure of public records indicate otherwise. Media Editor Chez Pazienza wrote

The schadenfreude would be absolutely delicious if the story weren’t so sickening. 27-year-old Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the Duggar family — the Christian zealots who parlayed their unwillingness to stop churning out children into a multi-media empire — now admits publicly to molesting several little girls when he was a teenager, many of them his own sisters (para. 1).

The hypocrisy of the Duggar brand is clear, which is that the personal brand does not reflect the professional brand of the Duggar lifestyle.

Successful Branding

Caitlin Doughty, founder of the Order of the Good Death has been using her video series Ask a Mortician to develop her personal brand in the funerary industry. Doughty gained Internet fame through her YouTube channel, which has parlayed into a quality personal brand. Doughty has created a unique personal and professional brand, which has allowed her to become a New York Times best selling author. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory has been a successful personal and professional tool to help people cope with the inevitable.

Final Thoughts

Creating a personal brand is not an overnight process. Recognizing the needs of clients is critical for finding the right market. Developing the characteristics of a personal and professional brand is necessary for obtaining rewarding and gainful employment. Constructing the different aspects of personal and professional brand can help a person become outstanding in his or her respective fields, which is evident in the brand Caitlin Doughty. Understanding how to approach professional and personal branding is a skill that should be developed by any person working on maintaining a personal brand, which is apparent in the Duggar brand. By analyzing the differences between personal and professional branding and using the appropriate platforms for reaching target audiences, a person can become distinguished in his or her respective field.


Bussin, R. (2015). What is personal branding and why is it so important? Aspire! Retrieved from

Deckers, E., & Lacy, K. (2013) Branding yourself: How to use social media to invent or reinvent yourself. (2nd ed.). Indianapolis, IN. Que Publishing

Doughty, C. (2015). About. Order of the Good Death Retrieved from

LePage, E., (2014, Summer). How to Balance Your Professional Brand and Personal Brand on Social Media. Hootsuite. Retrieved from

Pazienza, C. (2015, May 22). The Duggars Deliberately Covered Up Child Molestation in Their Ranks. The Daily Banter. Retrieved from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s