STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – A 7-STEP GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – A 7-STEP GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING

October 4, 2017

In today’s competitive world, the biggest challenge a professional faces is not to become just another face in the crowd. The only way to save yourself from this dismal outcome is to create and maintain a strong personal brand. Personal branding refers to the conscious effort one makes to establish a prescribed perception about him/her in others’ mind. Whether we like it or not, we all have a personal brand i.e. a perception in others’ mind. Planned personal branding simply gives us the opportunity to turn this perception into a coherent and positive image.

There are many ways to create one’s personal brand. In this article, we will look into some easy yet essential steps that we can take in order to create the desired perception.

Define your personal mission and vision. Just like a product brand, it’s important to have specific mission and vision statements of you as a person. Mission refers to the core purpose of your existence: what you want the world to remember you as. This can be many things ranging from someone who has dedicated his/her life for the service of others to someone who is smart and wise to someone who is simply rich and powerful. Once you know the mission, then decide your vision: where you want to see yourself at your zenith. These two statements will be the backbone of your brand building exercise.

List down your strengths and weaknesses. It is imperative that you stay honest in this section. Sometimes it is hard to be unbiased about one’s own self. So ask the people around you and then take the common points they mention. Once you have the list, ask yourself how these strengths can help you reach your vision and how the weaknesses will hinder that process. In this way, you know what you need to highlight about yourself and what you need to improve on.

Create a consistent story. A brand is all about a story that people can remember. So you need to formulate your own story that everyone can easily connect with. This story will eventually become your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). If you have multiple areas of interest, try to bring them under one umbrella so that they sound coherent together. All the famous celebrities who have a strong personal brand portrayed a clear and consistent story. For example, Steve Jobs’ story was about his hunger for innovation and relentless pursuit for perfection. Donald Trump’s story revolves around his accumulation of wealth through cut-throat business strategies.

Identify your target audience. The personal brand you are going to build will be relevant to a certain group of people in a certain time of your life. So identify this right target group. This can be your current and future potential employers, or your customers, or even your partners. Tailor the language and attitude you portray based on this target group’s needs and understanding level. You cannot market yourself to the whole world at a given time, so it is important to pick the right audience and craft the message accordingly.

Next, Audit your online presence. Perception in today’s world is largely dominated by our online activities. So being calculative about what you share on social media is extremely important in creating a personal brand. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, all of your posts and shares should be consistent with the story you want to build about your persona. A good strategy to monitor this is to Google your name regularly and see what pops up in the search – whether it shows your desired perception. If not, then you are not doing something right and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Associate yourself with relevant strong brands. This can be an educational institution or a workplace or even a non-profit where you might volunteer. Associating yourself with these known brands will increase the value and credibility of your personal brand promise. This will also help you to learn and gain more experience in your chosen field.

Don’t hesitate to promote yourself. Without proper promotion, no one will know and care about you no matter how strong a personal brand you have. So it is essential to promote yourself through all possible avenues. Social media is of course the strongest channel to promote oneself. However, promoting yourself can happen offline too. For example, by participating in social gatherings or networking events, you can meet like-minded people and make them aware of your personal brand.

Personal branding is an inevitable part of the modern life. So there is no point in looking down at it or shying away from. No matter how small or big, everyone should work on building a strong and consistent personal brand.


Written by

SYED IBRAHIM SAAJID
A tech enthusiast marketing professional
currently studying Strategic Marketing at
Cranfield School of Management, UK

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