With twenty years in the personal branding industry, William Arruda is a go-to, trusted source for all things personal and digital branding. Over the last two decades, he’s presented on the subject more than 2,000 times; written three personal branding books; and reached nearly two million people with his personal brand survey, 360°Reach. Accordingly, he’s been dubbed “the personal branding guru” by Entrepreneur and the “father of personal branding” by Inc.
In the early days of his career, Arruda worked in branding for large companies. It was neither his plan nor his expectation to become an entrepreneur, bestselling author, or motivational speaker. Then, he came across Tom Peters’ “The Brand Called You” and everything changed. This “now-iconic Fast Company article” sparked Arruda’s decision to “focus on the human side of branding” and start his own personal branding company – a dream that came to fruition with the launch of Reach Personal Branding in 2001. Since the conception of this ground-breaking organization, Arruda has inspired “millions of professionals to nix conformity and uncover their unique personal brand so they can deliver greater value to their company and have infinitely more fun at work.”
For Arruda’s recent insights on personal and digital branding, pick up a copy of his latest book, Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age. For a larger selection of his “thoughts on personal branding, leadership development, and social media,” see any of the publications that feature his work. These include Forbes (where Arruda is a Senior Contributor), Thrive Global, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. If watching videos is more your style, visit CareerBlast to interact with Arruda’s content. Co-founded by Arruda and executive coach Ora Shtull, this “personal branding plus platform” includes everything you need to “stand out and move up” in today’s competitive job market.
Arruda is the author of three acclaimed personal branding books: (1) Career Distinction, (2) Ditch. Dare. Do!, and (3) Digital YOU.
Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand (2007)
Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives (2013)
Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age (2019)
Arruda writes on a range of topics in business, career management, and career development. His usual topics include personal branding, social media, and the newly popularized hybrid work environment. For more “cutting-edge personal branding techniques and career advice” from Arruda, see his articles in Thrive Global or browse his column in Forbes. Feel free to start with the articles below!
Coined Will-isms by his team, these are some of Arruda's favorite sayings to help people understand the personal branding process.
Up until 2021, Arruda regularly created video content for both his YouTube channel and CareerBlast.TV, a “personal branding plus platform” where he and co-founder Ora Shtull share their personal branding system in “bits, bytes, and blasts.” Though he hasn’t posted lately, many of his videos include personal branding insights that remain relevant in today’s competitive job market. Sample videos include:
William has given more keynotes and presentations on personal branding than any other thought leader, so he is quite literally the world’s leading voice on personal branding! Below, we highlight his current keynote topics, which “are designed for anyone who’s ready to shine (and have more fun!) at work.”
- Digital You: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age
- How to Be Real When Working Virtually
- Personal Branding for Sales Leaders (for Sales Kick-offs and Conferences)
- Building Brand YOU! Three Steps to a Winning Personal Brand
- Personal Branding for Women
- Master LinkedIn to Master Your Digital Brand
Personal and Digital Branding
What exactly is your personal brand? According to Arruda, it is “your unique promise of value.” If it were a puzzle, its pieces would include your goals, values, passions, differentiators, innate talents (or, as Arruda likes to call them, superpowers), and purpose. Follow Arruda's branding framework below to learn more, take control of your reputation, and harness the power of your personal brand.
First, it is crucial to understand that your personal brand is made up of two versions of you: the real world you and the digital you. That is, your presence in real life and your presence online. Although these versions of you are distinct from one another, they should ultimately depict the same person: the true, authentic you. Once you have a grasp on this idea, you can begin to “get clear on your brand,” or take control of your reputation. Arruda recommends that you enter the personal branding process with the mindset of unearthing your brand as opposed to creating it. This will not only help you uncover who you truly are and the factors that make you irreplaceable in the market, but it will prevent you from simply creating the brand that you think you should have.
To successfully unearth your unique personal brand, you will have to (1) deepen your understanding of self and (2) gather input from outside sources. To achieve step one, consider the “puzzle pieces” that we mentioned earlier: your goals, values, passions, differentiators, superpowers, and purpose. As Arruda calls them, these “6 drivers of your personal brand” are key to both understanding your brand and telling your story. See this series of short videos that he created to help you uncover these key drivers, as well as articulate them to others. To achieve step two, solicit feedback from family, friends, and co-workers with the goal of understanding how others perceive you. This step is especially important, because “your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know you.”
Once you have taken these steps to unearth your brand, it is time to translate the real you into the “bits-and-bytes version of you.” In other words, it is time to take your personal brand virtual. Start by assessing your current online presence. Arruda suggests that you Google yourself (and do so often!) to evaluate whether the search results depict the real you. If they do, continue portraying your authentic self through the screen and building your brand influence. If they don’t, it’s time to reevaluate, fine-tune your profiles, and start producing content that aligns the digital you with the real world you. For those with a digital reputation that is less than glowing, Arruda offers the following ways to improve your digital identity:
- Put your name into a major search engine and flag any unflattering content. Consider where your efforts are most needed and separate the content into what you (and your future career) can tolerate vs. what you cannot
- Untag yourself from posts and media that do not align with your brand or goals and check your settings to prevent unwanted tagging in the future
- Consider making certain posts and accounts private, especially if you intend to use them for personal purposes
- Produce newer, more on-brand content to push old, unattractive content to later pages of the search results (Arruda calls this “burying the dirt”)
For more personal and digital branding tips from Arruda, follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter, browse his column in Forbes, or watch some (or all!) of the CareerBlast videos that he created alongside executive coach Ora Shtull. You can also pick up a copy of his latest book, Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.
- Publisher summaries for Career Distinction, Dare. Do!, and Digital YOU
- Approved PR and press materials, available on William Arruda's website