When we think of a person as a brand, the first names that come to mind are those of celebrities. When you’re a public figure, branding is everything. Jennifer Lawrence is goofy; Tom Holland can’t keep a secret to save his life; Taylor Swift loves love; Dwayne Johnson is a rock of positivity; A. R. Rahman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Lionel Messi are quiet geniuses. Years of watching these people have solidified their brands in our minds. It’s not just them, though. We all have a brand: what people see when they look at us. Your brand can make or break your future regarding your career and other essential aspects of life. Whether we’re looking for a job or a mate, projecting who we authentically are while highlighting our best qualities is crucial. Let’s explore why personal branding plays a principal role in how you present yourself.
The need for personal branding
Professional life is often like a popularity contest. So, what sets you apart when you’re up for a job? Most of your competitors have the same qualifications as you, know the same things, and are all sharply dressed. And everyone knows that the first impression is crucial. But for an impression to be sustainable, you cannot fake it. Here comes the relevance of personal branding, and it is a long game.
Personal branding strategist Claire Bahn insists that it is essential to building the career of your dreams. So when you go for that interview, you should’ve done most of your work already, which requires commitment. There are opportunities everywhere, and we can never be sure who will notice us and what new role will come our way. So, how do you project success and experience and market yourself?
How to gear up for personal branding
First, you must figure out who you are in others’ eyes. Imagine their perception differs from your idea of who you are or how you want to be seen. Then, you have to figure out the facets of yourself that you want to highlight and make a conscious effort to project that. You can, of course, hire an expert to help you with this, but it’s also very doable by yourself.
Personal branding does not mean talking about yourself all the time. Instead, it is about letting others form positive opinions about you through deliberate actions. No matter what you did in your academic life, out in the world, you need to show that you care, that you’ve cared before, i.e. been committed to passionate projects and succeeded at them.
How to build your brand
Each one of us experiences life differently. You need to take those experiences and find your unique story—something memorable, appealing, endearing, and authentic. It could be about any defining moment of your life or how that made you evolve. Your story must be true and interesting and clearly depict who you are. While your story remains the same, your narration and tone must change according to your audience. Brand building has many intricacies, and it requires a disciplined strategy. Let us have a look at some of the aspects:
(1) Building trust
Trust is important. Companies need to believe that you’re the one that’s going to get the job done. To build this trust, you need to be authentic in your approach and build meaningful relations. Making connections in the industry will help build trust between you and potential employers. Affiliations, much like brand collaborations, will take you very far.
(2) Launch your own PR campaign
Companies will google you and check your LinkedIn profile. So, spy on yourself to know exactly what they see. Search for yourself on the internet, make your LinkedIn profile public and see what Google shows about you. They will go through any social media or online presence you may have to get an idea of who you are. Your fashion sense, language, and other traits are all on display anyway. So why not be deliberate about them? They will make observations in seconds, and then those observations will turn into opinions. Hence, your online presence needs to fit your brand. Delete those crazy college party pics and showcase your successes without coming off as a show-off. For instance, if you post group pictures of events where you played a central role can highlight teamwork and other valuable qualities.
For those with empty Instagram pages, dormant Facebook profiles, and no notable online presence, perhaps it’s time to build one. Not having an online presence looks suspicious these days. And you lose out on controlling your narrative.
(3) Relevance is essential
Even once hired, you must continue to figure out what you and the company have in common and which of your interests align. Your goals and the company’s goals must be in sync. You need to fit in with them and benefit from them. To do this, you must anticipate their needs. Ask not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company (Sorry, I got a bit carried away there.)
You’ve got to work hard, but you must also ensure they know you have what it takes—experience, success rate—to lead the company to greater heights. Remember, your efforts at work must also show on your social media and be accessible to the target audience. So, whether you’re up for a promotion or trying for another job, they can immediately look at what you’ve uploaded and root for you.
How personal branding benefits you
(1) You attract opportunities
When people feel like they know who you are and that you’re capable, they will follow you and get others to follow you. With a clear brand promise, you become magnetic, attracting the people and opportunities you require to make your dreams come true.
(2) Promotions and other victories
When you understand what people really ‘like’ about you and what gives you the edge, it gives you the confidence to negotiate or win an argument. Because then you are aware of why they would want you, rather than the other way around. The hand that gives always has the upper hand.
(3) You earn more
The stronger the brand, the higher the pay. With more wins and promotions, you also earn more. Your unique skills and voice will add value to the company, which will also increase your brand value. It’s a win-win situation!
If personal branding feels like you’re putting on a face, set your qualms aside. In life, we’re different things to different people. We’re not the same person with our parents as we are with our friends; this is not fake—just a different version of the same thing. If you want a job and think you’re the right fit for it, make sure the right people know that you can be of use to them. The employees of a company are a part of its reputation and must represent its values and modus operandi. They need someone who can elevate their brand and bring something unique to the table. So, show them that person is you.
Have you built a deliberate personal brand? Would you give personal branding a go now? Let us know.