Why are we loyal to certain brands? What is it about brands like Amul and Tata that enables them to enjoy huge customer bases? Why do consumers find themselves going back to these products? It is because of their trusted brand name. Being household names today, these brands captivate consumers with their presence, stories and branding strategies. They have positioned themselves as the leaders in their respective industries.
Branding, a concept initially restricted to marketing and business has witnessed tremendous evolution over time. Personal branding is a conscious effort to position ourselves. The aim is to promote yourself and present your story to recruiters, clients to gain a superior edge over competition. It has gained importance over the years with the advent of social media, gig economy and the fierce competition among professionals.
What is Personal Branding?
It is a combination of skills, personality and experiences that defines you. It is what sets you apart from the competition. As it is often said, your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Each of us have our personal brand, our story that we want the world to know. It is a process wherein we control the narrative of our journey. We show people what we want them to see to develop and maintain our reputation to have a superior edge.
Most recruiters take to social media to hire. LinkedIn as a platform has seen an increase in job applications and hiring over the last three months by 35%. More and more organizations are broadening their recruitment process by considering a candidate beyond the conventional resume and application process and personal branding plays an important role here. Recruiters like to see something unique and interesting about the candidate. Developing a personal brand can thus improve your chances of getting into your dream job. It also helps in building networks with people around the world and will increase trust among prospective clients and recruiters. When recruiters trust your personal brand, it improves the scope of the relationship too. With social media and content marketing booming today like never before, anybody can build a personal brand by using the right tips and strategies.
Think of successful personal branding stories. Even if technology is not your cup of tea, it is hard to ignore Elon Musk. An established tech entrepreneur, his company’s brand mirrors his personal brand. Think LeBron James, Dwayne Johnson, Oprah Winfrey. What is it that they have in common? It’s the power of their personal branding. When Serena Williams released her own clothing line, it earned her huge praise and recognition beyond just her game. Her reputation is not just limited to her career in sports and her online presence made this possible.
GOFFMAN’S SELF PRESENTATION THEORY:
Motivation beyond personal branding can also be understood by the self-presentation theory of Goffman. It helps us explore how we want to control the way people see us. Building a personal brand helps us achieve this. The theory of self-presentation indicates how people seek to create an identity of themselves that they want others to see. This is what Goffman calls the ‘front stage’. Front stage is the deliberate persona created. Goffman’s theory also mentions the ‘back stage’ which is the part of us that we do not want people to necessarily hear or know about. These are often incidents that could negatively hamper our image or personal brand.
Some important steps to help build your personal brand:
Step 1: State your goals
Is it to find a new job or new clientele? Is it to grow and expand your business or to demonstrate your work and skills? Think of your immediate goals.
Step 2: Define your target
Target could be your potential clients or recruiters and employers. It could be existing colleagues and clients or even journalists and press.
Step 3: Assess the competition
Identify a few individuals in your industry who have a strong brand. Understand what platforms they use, who are they engaging with, what do they do differently, what are they doing right, what can you work on?
Step 4: Choose your branding platforms
Which platform would you use to build your brand? Some popular choices are Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook Page, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter. Start with just one or two in the beginning.
Step 5: Plan and strategize your content
Think about topics you would like to cover under your specific industry. Plan your topics using a content calendar. What writing style would best resonate with your audience? It could be corporate, academic, casual and laid-back, fun and interactive.
There are many books on personal branding to help you get on the right track. A few popular ones:
- Digital You by William Arruda
- Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
- Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel
- Personal Branding for Dummies by Susan Chritton
- Creating Signature Stories by David Aaker
The internet is full of content on every topic you can imagine. With information overload on the internet, the right content and right branding strategies will fuel your success. Gone are the traditional days of focusing only on your resume. Building a personal brand will be one of your most valuable assets.