Richard Branson, Madonna and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the incredibly successful people who have used personal branding and now many middle management professionals as well as self employed professionals use Personal Branding.
Personal Branding is based on authenticity, while image management is a spin or a projection (sometimes of what you are not). Image management builds a image for the outside world while Personal Branding is based on the real and genuine strengths, values and passions.
A product brand offers a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to the customer and in the same way a Personal Brand offers a Unique Value to the employer or client (in terms of strengths and passions of the person which are of value)
To get buy-in for internal promotion
To brand yourself as an expert of knowledge or skills
To raise your credibility among customers, financial institutions.
Though anyone including student can go for Personal Branding with long term interests, it is more useful for the following categories of people (any situation where the person is more critical than the product)