Let’s face it, personal branding can be daunting – to many, there is this usual question, where do I even start? Then, there are some who are pretty clueless about what personal branding is all about. I have often asked in sessions if anyone knows what personal branding is, only to have shout-out answers, like logo, reputation, advertisement and even business. While all of these are part of your personal branding, they are not what personal branding means.
To simplify the word, personal branding merely means the emotional connection your target audience has with you. In essence, it is truly how you promote yourself; the unique combination of skills, experience and personality that you want the world to see. It is also the spoken and unspoken words, how it reflects in your behaviour, mannerisms and also attitude.
During the pre-social media days, our personal branding is only limited to when someone meets and sees us in the flesh. These days, however, personal branding has evolved leaps and bounds; your personal brand is travelling the world over, simply at a click of a mouse or a tap on the smartphone.
If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.
– Zig Ziglar
Your personal brand may create or break you; it is vital to you, professionally and personally. Personal branding gives you the opportunity to ensure people see you the way you want them to by highlighting your strengths; it helps people believe they know you better and, if you are in business, you should already know this – people tend to buy from people they know and trust, even if it is someone they have never met. No matter what the naysayers are propagating, this theory explains how Kylie Jenner turns her lipstick business into a $420 million beauty empire!
While there are no hard and fast rules for personal branding, there are some guidelines to help you start or rebrand yourself.
Keep your mind focused on the kind of person you want to be; best personal brands are specific. They know what they want, the demography they want to target and just get-on with it. The more focused your brand is, the easier people will remember and think of you, if let say, any opportunities arise.
There will be no personal brand without consistency. You cannot be one character one day and turn into something else the next. Consistency creates memory and when you are positively memorable, that is when you know your personal brand strategy has gone in the right direction.
Authenticity is one thing I emphasise lots in my sessions. Inauthenticity might go unnoticed for a bit but can be really damaging in the long haul. Anyways, it is hard to portray something you are not, day-in and day-out, so why not keep it real. Model yourself after someone you look-up to, study how he or she attain success but a copycat, never!
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself
– George Bernard Shaw
Living your brand is a definite breeze when you are authentic. A personal brand should follow you, no matter where you are. Living your brand magnifies your thoughts, belief and behaviour to your target audience; making you more relatable and most definitely memorable.
Wherever you go, create a positive impact with your brand. Let your positive mannerisms and behaviour speak for your brand. Never burn bridges, try and assist others whenever you have the chance and you know what, this helps your brand to grow healthily over time.
It is often said that personal branding is the story people say about you when you are not in the room. You want that story to be good; word of mouth is often the best PR. Let people tell your story and you want to make sure it is a good one.
Personal branding is a lifelong project – it will evolve, change as you go along, grow with you as you mature in age, experience and everything else in between. You move along with those changes but always remain true to yourself and what you really believe in, because as Oscar Wilde said it very elegantly, all those years ago – Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.