Personal branding is a term coined by Tom Peters, management guru and author, in his breakthrough article “A Brand Called You” which was published in the Fast Company (1997). Branding is commonly associated with companies but in the present scenario, it is used with people too. No doubt, time is changing rapidly with technological advancement. Nowadays personal branding is in fashion and people want to connect with people rather than the company because it is easy to trust real people than businesses.
A new trend has emerged recently such as building a brand around one’s personality and then create a range of products and services around it. For example, Seth Godin (marketing genius), Robin Sharma (self–help guru), Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey etc., who have become brand-like giant corporations and their empire revolves around their personality.
So what do they do which make them differ from ‘commoners’? It isn’t a secret anymore which belongs to only a few people because the science behind is available in front of you everywhere.
So what is personal branding? “Personal branding is the means by which people remember you,” is one of the definitions out there. It is all about the way people perceive your image and think of you when you are not there or hear your name. It is often involving one’s name. What do you get in your mind when your hear or see brands like Tata, Trump, Hilton and Godrej. What thoughts and images you get in your mind?
So, who are you and what is your brand? What do people think of you? What are your values? What is your attitude? What kind of person are you? What are you passionate about? What is your purpose? What do you want to achieve? These are the questions that will define your personal brand.
Start creating your personal brand with these simple steps:
What do you want people to think of you? What qualities do you want to be known for? What social image do you want to portrait to people? To answer all these questions, you have to first understand yourself. Do a SWOT analysis which is to list out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
So start with what qualities you presently have. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your likes and dislikes? Now focus on how you want to be perceived by people. Write down a list of adjectives, qualities and causes. It is time to think of your target audience, the people with whom you want to connect.
People often say, “Reputation precedes you” which means people get your brand image before you meet them. Another step is to be authentic and real in terms of what you want people to know, see and hear about you. Be wise with what you say, post and declare because every action you take will put a building block to your brand.
Get a stage to speak on, interact with people, go to conferences, post on social media, get media coverage etc. Use these ways to market yourself and let people know about who you are. Decide where you want to get noticed and why. For example, if you want to promote yourself online, first update your social media profiles with a professional picture, introduction and any other information you want people to notice.
Also, share relevant content on your social media and build a website with your name. It will enhance your profile as people can easily access it and the good part is that you have more control on it than social media.
Tell people about your expertise and knowledge by writing and sharing content related to your niche. Keep yourself updated with industry knowledge. It also means you will not become obsolete with the ongoing changes in the market. For instance, Guy Kawasaki is a marketing influencer who writes and post regularly on his social media. It shows his authority in the marketing domain and also his updated knowledge about the field.
In essence, to embark on a personal branding journey, first know yourself and define what you want to become and then accumulate the qualities and market yourself on relevant platforms.