Brands are imaginary constructs. Proctor and Gamble has 32 laundry detergents that have mostly the same chemicals in them. Branding is how they convince you to pay more for Tide. Branding is why you pay $3 for a coffee at Starbucks when the $1 coffee at Wawa is actually better. When a brand is not performing the company may re-brand. What does that mean? It means the product doesn't change, but what they tell you about it does change.
What does this have to do with personal branding? If brands are imaginary constructs, why the hell would you want to create an imaginary construct about yourself? Personal branding is how somebody goes from (self-proclaimed) web developer to web marketing expert to social media expert to block chain expert in 10 years, without ever being expert in any of it. They may fool a lot of people and even make a lot of money, but successful criminals also fool a lot of people while making money. It's not exactly a crowd you want to be associated with.
I've been online a long time and I'm going to share the secret with you now.
That's it. Most of you aren't good enough to pull off the branding thing anyway. How do I know that? If you were that good, you'd be too busy actually working to post 20 tweets, 4 Facebook updates, and 2 LinkedIn posts every single day trying to convince us you are a thought leader in block chain powered whatever.
Be genuine. Be yourself. Stop the BS.
It really is that simple.