Building Your Personal Brand
Hammad Motiwala, iBBA 2019
Personal Branding is the means by which people remember you. A Personal Brand reflects who you are and the person you aspire to be. It includes the impression you want to present to potential recruiters, business professionals and any other target markets of interest to you. Today, building your Personal Brand is as important as building your business’ brand. Your potential network needs to know you in-depth and wants to connect with you on an emotional level. Thus, developing a Personal Brand can help you attract more opportunities in your path towards success.
A Personal Brand is a brand in itself. Hence, it has to speak for itself after it has been set up effectively. Now, there is no clear-cut way to set up your Personal Brand but it is only due to the fact that your personal brand reflects your uniqueness and what you bring to the corporate table. Hence, the following passages will be general guidelines enabling everyone a flexibility in setting up their own unique and creative Personal Brand.
Build your Presence
Extinct are the times where just having a business card on your person was all it took to ensure exploitation of potential opportunities. In a highly individualized world, one has to ensure various means to building presence—both physical and virtual. First, you have to make sure you are visible and accessible at all times. By this, I do not mean to reduce your sleep to 2 hours a day. However, hiding away behind your textbooks and desks, away from civilization, most hours of your school days will not help you build any brand. Attending networking sessions and information sessions is a great way of spreading your presence into the business world. Moreover, it is very important to have an online presence in today’s tech era. Having social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram is a gateway to attracting more followers towards your personal brand. Going beyond your virtual presence, your physical characteristics also convey your personal brand. This means that you should make sure to attend any meetings or social gatherings with a positive and professional approach. This kind of physical manner will ensure that your appearance is keeping up with your brand.
Build your Value Proposition
The approach to building one’s value proposition begins with identifying and working on areas of strengths aka areas of uniqueness. This comes from knowing your industry inside and out. Think deeply of what you bring to the table and master these characteristics. This could be an area in which you recognize yourself as proficient. This could be an area which brings you recognition and respect from fellow peers. This could be could be a set of strengths and accomplishments you have built in your professional experience. Recognizing these strengths ensures that you have something to contribute towards when entering a new market or employment opportunity. Another way of building your value proposition, aside from identifying and working on your skills, is to give back to the community. Essentially, sharing your knowledge.
Aside from the nice tingling sensation that giving back brings, giving back to the community can help build your brand. Sharing your knowledge and experience can reimburse you in various ways and can deem to be very fruitful in the long run. It is not enough to learn things or gather knowledge, but imparting that experiential knowledge can be very helpful to your brand. Renowned author and creative director, Paul Arden, believes that you should ‘give everything you know, and more will come back to you.” He believes that coveting your ideas eventually leads to “living off your reserves, eventually you’ll become stale.” People remember selfless acts so make sure to start off with good intentions (easier said than done). You can show your support towards causes that are important to you. Make sure to share your knowledge and experiences through videos, social media, writing both online and offline. Your website will work great wonders for you for this part of the Personal Brand development process.
According to the Chinese classic text of Tao Te Ching, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” This stage is up to the creativity of the unique personal brander him or herself. This enables individuals to find their own personal style, values and priorities in life. For those of you who are born to stand out, stop trying to fit in because there are other paths besides the ones the crowds are embarking on. Believe in yourself and trust yourself enough to follow your own instincts towards the road less travelled (in some cases). Identifying your style and stick to it, because you will be carrying this wherever you go. Identify your personal and professional goals–both short term and long term. Carry these goals with you when you embark on projects with your own unique compass (comprising of values and priorities) guiding you along the way.
This involves building your Personal Brand persona. Things such as identifying your emotional appeal, your personality, your specialties, among other things come here. When crafting your brand’s characteristics and persona, you can talk about reasons why people enjoy working with you, what are your key personality traits (e.g your sense of humor and cooperative skills). You can also discuss why people keep in touch with you (i.e why people are attracted to you). You can also discuss your specialty in the sense of what you can give to people and/or clients.
After all this, when your Personal Brand is up and running, make sure to keep tabs of the contacts you have make along this wonderful journey. Moreover, make sure you are working via a 2-way networking approach (i.e you are not just expecting things from others but helping others too). A lot of people just focus on their own needs, benefits and goals completely while ignoring other people’s side and how they will benefit from the relationship. You don’t want to be among them!
Finding and utilizing your personal brand will bring you many advantages in the business world. Using these key points as a guideline, you will become one step closer to mastering your personal brand!