“Your personal brand is largely dependent on how others view you, which is largely dependent on how you portray yourself, which should be a reflection on who you really are.” - Anthony Miyazaki
In recent times, there has been so much emphasis on building your personal brand. In fact, if you are interested in this topic, there is a live community event hosted by Qureos on how to build a professional brand that stands out by Mina Wasfi on 13th February, 2023 at 6:00 pm GST and it is FREE.
This workshop will empower you to:
✅Realize your potential to determine professional value in the talent market.
✅Build your persona as a personal brand that stands out.
✅Create a catalog that includes a compelling resume, a portfolio and your social presence.
But for those who are not aware of this phenomenon, let’s dive deeper into understanding what it really means to build a personal brand and what it entails.
❇️ Did you know that according to a research conducted by McKinsey, strong brands have proven to outperform by 73% due to effective personal branding strategy implementation?
This number on its own is enough to make you explore the possibilities of personal branding!
So the question is:
What is personal branding?
Personal Branding is the carefully curated image of an individual’s personality, skills, experience and behavior. In today’s world where there is so much competition, it becomes necessary to distinguish yourself from others, so that people can know you, even when you are not physically present in the room.
❇️ “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” Jeff Bezos
In reality, creating a personal brand is an extremely daunting process. Sometimes it takes us in stages of self-discovery until we finally come to an agreement with ourselves about our personal brand!
❇️ Did you know that even famous celebrities like Oprah Winfrey had to go through several style iterations on a local show before she was able to identify her voice as the most influential personal brand in the world?
Brace yourselves, some of the important factors like truly “knowing yourself” or “telling your story” when trying to build your personal brand might sound cliche to you but let’s help each other in getting out of our comfort zones, shall we?
All of us bring something valuable to the table. All of us deserve to get some spotlight. Yes, hard work is important but hard work alone is not enough, we need to learn to be loud and make our presence felt and heard!
❇️ According to Tana Storani, who has extensive knowledge on this domain, “personal brand” can appear as an oxymoron to alot of people. The reason for this is when we break the term down, personal refers to the individual where a brand immediately makes us imagine a group of people. But look up the meaning of a brand. A brand means, “a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristics”. So, in this sense, personal brand simply implies the efforts taken by a professional to distinguish themselves from a group of people!
Also read: What is executive coaching?
How do we create a Personal Branding Strategy?
By adopting some or all of the action items described below:
The first step in building your personal brand is knowing yourself. We all have some good, some bad, some strengths and some weaknesses. The real power is in knowing all sides of yourself which comprise of things you are good at, things you are bad at, how do you spend your time and energy, what motivates you, what is something you hate doing, what do you struggle with, what comes naturally to you and so on!
❇️ “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” - Aristotle
Know your audience
We are all aware of the significance of the target audience in the field of marketing. This is also true for personal branding. It is about attracting people who you wish to connect, work and do business with. You need to understand who you are building a brand for and how they will connect with it. What attributes, skills and values would appeal to your target audience and whether what you’re building under your personal brand would be enough to keep them hooked and keep coming back for more.
Recommended: Building Global Brands with Content Marketing by Kamran Masood Niazi
Create your story & tell it in a compelling way
Personal branding works best when people are able to connect and relate with you. People will be simply annoyed with you if you keep talking about your brand in a plain manner. So, build a story around your brand that’s not too technical but simple to understand, real, and more relatable for the people. Real life examples always work the best because storytelling enables people to envision your experiences and relive them through your stories.
❇️ The author of the Creative Curve, Allen Gannett, says, “The most effective personal branding strategy these days is to build a true narrative”
Define your personal brand
i) Your uniqueness:
Think about all the things that set you apart from others. This can also include your background, your culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and diverse life experiences etc. Don’t let these become a source of hindrance for you. In fact, use these differences as a sword to create your personal brand.
❇️ Taking these unique factors into account combined with your experiences, you become a sum of something beautiful which you often don’t realize in the hustle and bustle of life. Think about it. It can be a good reflective exercise!
ii) Your values:
Your values are what you firmly believe in. These can be issues that are close to your heart, that affect you at a personal level, or maybe at a community level. But these can also be bigger issues such as things that affect all of us at a global level. For example climate change, gender equality, health, human rights, sustainability. These issues often shape our actions, remind us of our purpose and help us stay determined. Find them, advocate for them and try to build strong, lasting narratives around them.
iii) Your contributions:
Your qualifications, your experiences, both personal and professional should speak for themselves. Don’t keep your insights limited to yourself or your circle. You never know when your experiences in the field of Psychology or Social Sciences can benefit the Marketing team to understand something significant about human behavior for their campaigns. Think about your expertise and then contribute in the best manner to add value to the lives of people who follow your brand.
Stay human & stay humble
While you are on the journey of personal branding, please don’t forget that you are not a brand but a human. People will appreciate, admire, and connect more with your content when you focus on showing your human side more. You should showcase your amazing work that helps boost your brand and your career but stay humble.
If you are genuine, it will be so much easier for you to align your personal identity with your personal brand.
❇️ In order to brand ourselves, sometimes we go the extra mile and try to “rebrand” ourselves in the process as someone who we are not but we keep forgetting the most important reminder that there is only one of us in this world.
Build a complete LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn lies at the heart of creating a personal brand. Perhaps it is the easiest way to begin the process of personal branding. Most people, including people who hire you, look up to you and want to work with you in the future will try to search for you on the platform.
Don’t have the time?
❇️ You can quickly go over these 9 Ways to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
Create & share content
As a working professional, so much is happening in your daily routine. Back to back meetings, stakeholders, new projects - all of this can be valuable content. Just make sure you block one or two hours every other day for content creation. The best way to start this activity is by reposting/resharing articles and posts that align with your brand on social media, mainly Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t just simply hit like or retweet, also add your thoughts and insights about it. Remember to remain consistent. Creating good, thorough content is not enough. Creating it consistently is the key.
Be ready to fail
Dealing with failure is not an easy thing. All of us fear it but at the same time, it teaches us a lot of things. We must accept and experience failure to create a brand that stands out.
❇️ “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you are young. I learned a lot out of that. Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of that. I’ve never been afraid. I’ve never had the feeling I couldn’t walk out and get a job doing something.” Walt Disney highlighted the significance of learning from failures in life.
Let other people tell your story
The narrative that you build around your brand plays a huge role in the success of your personal branding. If you are able to create a strong online presence, you are more likely to get PR by word of mouth, and it is the best one. People who you work with, will remember you in the way you want, even people outside of your bubble will try to connect and get to know you.
Embark on the journey of building your personal brand
This journey of creating your personal brand takes work. It takes a lot of time and effort to produce meaningful content which aligns with your own and your brand’s values. There is also vulnerability and bravery involved when you first start out because you are not sure how people will respond. They might react positively, negative or critically but remind yourself that this is a learning process for you.
Once you start growing organically, you will be exposed to more opportunities. These can be both internal and external opportunities. You will become the brand face and others will know your brand because of you. This is the reason companies who implement effective personal branding strategies have a higher success rate.
❇️ "Personal branding is the story people tell about you when you're not in the room." Jessie Maltin