Article: Brand you: Your career's secret sauce

Learning & Development

Brand you: Your career's secret sauce

Branding yourself helps distinguish you from others and allows you to showcase your unique strengths and qualities, ultimately opening up new opportunities for growth and success.
Brand you: Your career's secret sauce

Personal Branding is a very polarising topic, either one completely understands it or there’s a group of people who think it isn’t required at all - let your work do the talking. While all of us would have our points of view, my attempt through this piece is to leverage my two decades of work with senior, mid and junior-level professionals to leverage and share how Personal Branding has made an impact on their lives, including mine. And sure we all have our styles and there is an art element to this, what we mustn't miss is that there is a science to it and we can all learn to discover, articulate and communicate our brand across.

Why Personal Branding!

  • Nearly 80% of recruiters consider personal branding a factor when evaluating candidates 
  • A staggering 77% of consumers prefer to purchase from a brand they recognise, and yet entrepreneurs do not focus on building their organization and personal brands

The generational adage is to put your head down, do good work and let your work do the talking. While the fundamental to building a brand is the basis of the good work you do, with a little bit of a twist, that not only walks the talk but also talks the walk. In today’s digital work, where the market is crowded, whether you are a fresher, a senior executive or even an entrepreneur, you do need to distinguish yourself from the market. 

Why should someone hire you? 
Why should someone buy from you?
Why should someone promote you?

Your reputation often precedes you, shaping perceptions before any questions are asked. To seize opportunities and stand out, you must establish your presence. But do you have a personal brand? Many I've worked with believe they don't need one, citing a lack of celebrity status or groundbreaking achievements. However, whether you realize it or not, every interaction shapes others' perceptions of you. Without actively shaping your narrative, assumptions and misinformation can fill the void. Whether you're starting out, a seasoned professional, or an entrepreneur, building your brand is essential for success.

What is Personal Branding? And how did it come about?

Branding traces back to ancient times when cattle were marked for distinction. Today, it signifies consistency and trust, exemplified by global brands like McDonald’s and Apple. Personal branding emerged in 1997 with Tom Peters' article "The Brand Called You." While Oxford Dictionary defines it as managing one's public image, it's more than projecting an ideal self. Before diving into building your brand, let's bust some myths around it.

Personal branding myths & facts

Myth 1: We need to project a larger-than-life perfect image of a person 

Fact: All of us are human beings, we do have our failings, and we ought to discover our strengths and leverage them. Everyone loves to work with real people

Myth 2: I’m not senior enough or a celebrity, I don’t need to build and position a Personal Brand

Fact: When your colleagues, customers, and stakeholders interact regularly with you, they appreciate authenticity and consistency, to know someone well is always better than not knowing or expecting inconsistency

Myth 3: Everyone can’t build a Personal Brand without a lot of work and spending a lot of money

Fact: While it does take a little bit of effort to reflect, articulate and communicate your Brand, it doesn’t need a lot of spending, it does authenticity and consistency in approach

Myth 4: There’s no use of building a Personal Brand, it’s finally about the large brands you work for (Organisations, etc.)

Fact: Increasingly people have realized within a brand you would experience different individuals who stand for themselves and their Brand helps themselves and their Organizations and not the other way around.

How can you build your Brand?

I have had the good fortune to work with more than 1000 individuals 1-on-1 over the last 2 decades, using Psychometrics and right from Campus to Corporate to Senior Leadership Programs, I’d like to share with you what one could do to build their Brand. I’d start with a Caveat, the process is a journey and none of this happens overnight, however, you also know the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Over the past two decades, I've worked closely with over a thousand individuals, guiding them from campus to corporate to senior leadership programs. Here's a simple roadmap to build your personal brand:

Step 1: Reflect on your values, strengths, and interests. Understand what makes you unique, drawing from your innate strengths and learned values.

Step 2: Articulate who you are beyond your job title. Connect the dots between your passions, experiences, and aspirations to define your identity.

Step 3: Communicate authentically and consistently. Share your story through various platforms and activities that resonate with your true self.

Step 4: Measure, evaluate, and iterate. As you evolve, revisit and adjust your brand to align with your changing goals and experiences.

Lastly, I draw inspiration from enduring personal brands like Nelson Mandela, Marshall Goldsmith, and Sachin Tendulkar, who exemplify excellence and humanity. Building your brand isn't just about career success and purposeful life.

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Topics: Learning & Development, #Career, #PracticalTips

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