The key to successful personal branding is to know who you are trying to attract. Many people's attempts at branding have failed because they were marketing that brand to the wrong audience. It's often not the brand that's at fault, or the product, service or person behind that brand, but rather the audience. It's a given that people respond to things they like and things that attract them. Many of these triggers are cultural or generational. Some may depend on education or political and spiritual beliefs. Others rely upon hobbies or interests. The thing to remember is that, in todays’ online market, there are as many potential audiences as they are brands to attract them. The greater variety of brands that exist, the greater the needs of the audiences for variety.

If you are of a certain age, you can remember a time before cable, before on demand and before streaming. Way back then, visual entertainment came over the airwaves and the only wires in the house carried electricity. TV in those days offered about four channels, on average. (Five, if you count public broadcasting.) As a viewer, or a consumer of media, you turned on the TV and watched what was available. The average viewer, or audience member, was content with these choices for two reasons. First, there was no alternative and second, they didn't know any better.

Slowly, however, as technology increased, so did the number of channels and viewing options. This increased number of channels meant that many different potential interests could be served. People didn't know that watching a network totally devoted to shopping could be interesting, until the technology allowed such a network to be a reality. As time went on, and channel volume kept increasing, even more specialized programing, as well as the audience it served began to occur. Shopping channels became sporting goods channels became hunting knife channels. The technology allowed the smaller brands to find the audience they needed.

This example explains the situation that exists online today. If you have a product or service, no matter how obscure or specialized, you can develop an audience that will appreciate what you sell. The key is in understanding that high-end hunting knives will not sell well to people who like jewelry. You need to realize what target audiences you are aiming for and then hit the mark that will make that audience clamor for what you're selling. When you know your audience, that audience will appreciate your brand.