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Brand Identity: How Branding Works and Building Your Personal Brand

Discover the secrets behind successful brands and how you can use the same techniques to create an effective personal brand.

A red haired man staring into the distance.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 1 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Start building your personal brand

Why do some brands stand out more than others? On this three-week course, you’ll discover the winning formulas behind successful brands to help you reach and engage with your audience.

This practical course, led by branding expert Professor Jonathan A.J. Wilson, will start you on your journey to developing your personal brand. You’ll learn to put together a style guide and plans of action – turning your thinking into real-world outcomes.

Examine different promotional tools and techniques

You’ll unpack the techniques used by top brands and learn how to use these same ideas in your personal branding.

To help you choose the right promotional tools for your brand, you’ll also critically evaluate and compare techniques to understand the most effective ones for your context.

Understand the importance of marketing communications

In order to reach your target audience, you’ll discover the importance of marketing communications and learn to identify its key aspects.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand how you can apply marketing communications thinking to promote you and your brand.

Explore the role of cultural differences and empathy

You’ll get to reflect on how you currently promote yourself and do a deep dive into what makes you unique, focusing on your cultural background and how to make connections using these insights.

Learning to appreciate cultural differences and developing cultural empathy, you’ll also consider how this can impact brand decisions.

You’ll finish the course by investigating which market is right for you, so you can begin your journey to building your brand.


  • Week 1

    From brand to personal brand

    • Welcome

      Welcome to this ExpertTrack - Personal Branding: How to Brand Yourself Professionally, Authentically and with Passion. Lead educator Jonathan Wilson outlines what to expect in this course on your brand identity.

    • Promotional tools and techniques

      This part of the course is about exploring the different marketing communications and promotional tools that brands use. We will look at the differences between them, what each of them is good at, and which ones we can use.

    • Successful brands and their associations

      This part of the course is all about helping you work out how to take the first step towards creating and building your brand successfully.

    • Your style guide

      As far as other people are concerned, you are who and what you surround yourself with. In these steps, we’re going to work on creating your own style guide.

    • Wrapping up Week 1

      How did Week 1 go for you? In these steps, we summarise what we’ve learned so far, and look ahead to what we’ll be covering next week.

  • Week 2

    Marketing and communications

    • Welcome to Week 2

      In these steps we introduce the focus for this week, in which we will think about marketing communications channels and tactics in the same way that regular brands and organisations do.

    • Marketing communications

      How do brands categorise their promotional activity, and what can you learn from them? In these steps we explore how you can select the right marketing communication channels for you.

    • Promoting you

      In this activity, we explore some of the cost-effective and free methods you can use to promote yourself. We’ll look at how others have done it, before trying it out for ourselves.

    • Bring it all together

      In these steps, we think about what style to use in your content when trying to present your personal brand. We provide tips on how to experiment with your style and how to create a plan of action.

    • Wrapping up Week 2

      We round off this week by looking back at what we’ve learned so far, particularly with regard to capturing our audience’s attention. We also look ahead to more work on identifying our audience, wherever they may be.

  • Week 3

    Local, international, global

    • Welcome to Week 3

      In these steps, we explore what it means to be local, international, or global. We start by identifying where the people live that you would like to connect with and where you would like to be known.

    • Cultural differences

      In these steps, we explore what culture really means. We also look at how conveying your cultural differences and your uniqueness through your brand can maximise your chances of appealing to multiple audiences.

    • Cultural empathy and its impact

      In these steps, we explore the importance of acknowledging and respecting other cultures. We discuss how making connections based on a shared value can be the difference between succeeding and failing to win people over.

    • Choosing a market

      In these steps, we look at how you can use your personal affinities, connections and links in other markets to broaden your horizons.

    • Course revision and summary

      We round off the course by reviewing what we have learned over the past three weeks, including a short quiz on branding, promotions and culture.

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Compare different promotional tools and techniques
  • Identify brands that are successful and investigate your associations
  • Develop your personal style guide
  • Summarise key aspects of marketing communications
  • Apply marketing-communications thinking to promote you: your brand
  • Appreciate cultural differences and the factors that contribute towards them
  • Develop cultural empathy and consider how this can impact brand decisions or perceptions
  • Investigate which market is right for you to operate within and develop your presence

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in improving how they present themselves.

You may be applying for a job or looking to build your personal brand and increase your network.

Who will you learn with?

I’m an award-winning practitioner and academic with two doctorates, and over 200 pieces of published work. I’ve travelled to 40 countries and worked on branding everything - from countries to people

Who developed the course?


FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform and has been providing high quality online courses for learners around the world over the last ten years.

About this ExpertTrack

Learn how to embrace your uniqueness to develop a successful personal brand, with branding expert Professor Jonathan A.J. Wilson.

Start learning today - free 2-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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