Personal Branding is an abstract concept. The idea of Personal Branding is that your appearance is important to achieving your business and social goals. It evolves the ideas of personal image or first impressions to a new level of complexity and thought.
Social media has made Personal Branding an absolute necessity for business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, socialites, and really anybody trying to send a message to their friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. The messages may be for business or pleasure, but in both parts of life people will treat you and respond to you based on these messages.
An analogy for Personal Branding is a painted portrait. A portrait contains many colors and different shades, as well as different perspectives or angles on a person. A portrait position a face fully front, or position it as side profile, or perhaps at 45 degrees in between. The result is the same person appears slightly different in each position. Our perception of the same person is different. We will feel different about the person based on the position used in the portrait.
Personal Branding is like the painted portrait. You can position yourself differently by showing different sides and "views" of yourself. You can position yourself differently in the most mundane of situations, such as exercising at the gym. You have a choice for dressing at the gym: pastel colored, loose, long shorts or black, fitted mid-thigh shorts. These offer two different ways of positioning "who you are" to people at the gym.
The first shows you don't really care how you look at the gym. The second shows you care how you look, even at the gym. The second sends the message that you carefully present yourself in all situations, you are confident in the look of your body, and you enjoy a bit of attention for your style.
Obviously Personal Branding takes place in the office, in business meetings, parties, class rooms, running errands (you never know who you will randomly run across), events, galas, and even at home among family. With constant image sharing to hundreds or thousand of people on social media, the importance of Personal Branding rises exponentially.
Cynics or fearful people will try to cop out with an attitude like "I don't care about my personal brand. I'm just being myself." Well guess what? You just sent the rest of us clear messages, thus creating your Personal Brand in our minds. We perceive you as a person that doesn't put much effort into style or appearance, and that is in fact your Personal Branding.
Artists and geniuses are (in)famous for this type of positioning. Einstein purposely wore his hair wild, sending the message that was so smart that he didn't need to conform his hair style like a manager or business man. Today's entrepreneurs like Donald Trump or Steve Jobs both cultivated "I don't care what people think " Personal Brands. People perceive these men as independent thinkers, and accord these men more stature and credit than they deserve.
That is the true intention of serious Personal Branding: increasing your influence and control over life. People of means typically use a Personal Stylist to advance their style to constantly be positioned to effect success in all situations.