Everyone is a brand! You are a brand where you are now. Whether you are aware of it or not, you actually have a personal brand. The conversation around personal branding is even more urgent and important than ever because we are in the digital era where if you do anything whether good or bad, it will be stuck on the internet forever.
I speak and advise a lot of businesses on human capital development and recruitment. I am always saying in as much as the CV is important, one of the easiest places to get to know what is not written in a CV is the internet. Even when you want to meet someone new, there is usually an inclination to want to check them out online in order to know more about them. What you do is thus the difference between your success and your failure.
It’s often said that you do not have a second opportunity to make the first impression. What comes out when you type out your name on Google? A friend of mine says, “You are what Google says you are?” Do you like what comes out that is associated with your name?
Do your social media pages speak a consistent language pertaining to who you claim to be? The challenge with most people, they have two lives, one on social media which has a different direction altogether.
Personal branding now has to be embraced if we are going to make it in this gig economy. In fact, personal branding has to be taught from childhood so that children grow with an understanding of the importance of branding.
What separates successful people from unsuccessful people is the quality of brands that they build. There is so much talk about corporate branding, and many times in business we forget to actually emphasise on personal branding of our employees. The individual brands of the employees can eventually cost you the corporate brand that you have built over time.
Even if you are not employed, working as an entrepreneur you still need to work on building a solid personal brand. People are attracted to the person before they buy into anything that you have to offer.
The purpose of this series is to challenge all of us to work on building and enhancing our personal brands. Your success in life is tied to the type of brand that you build. People avoid you or engage you because of your brand. People want to be associated with you because of your personal brand. There is this lie that price is everything in business. This is not true! The last and least worry that most serious customers have is price. In fact, it is often said that if you compete on price alone, your days in business are numbered. People buy brands, even if it means paying more than what a normal person would pay.
What is personal branding
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos is often quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say when you are not in the room.” Effectively your personal brand is about your story being told in your absence. You do not have an opportunity to defend yourself in your absence but your personal brand does that for you. I am going to dwell on this point later on in the article in greater detail in order to demonstrate why we need to focus on developing healthy personal brands. Personal branding gives you an opportunity to promote yourself. What do you want the world to see? We all have skills, experiences and our unique personality, once combined these will give us an opportunity to exhibit to the world what we have to offer.
In a highly competitive world, and a world full of imitators, your personal brand differentiates you from other people. Your personal brand can feed into your business and raise even the image of the business. Think of SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City; the first person that comes to your mind is Elon Musk. Talk of Econet, the first that comes to your mind is Strive Masiyiwa. Microsoft, the name that comes to mind is Bill Gates. Apple, you immediately think of Steve Jobs even if he is late.
What is the image that people see of you? How do they look at you in real life? How does the media portray you? What impression do people gain from the information about you available online?
Why personal branding?
The definition of personal branding speaks volumes about the importance of personal branding because you actually need to be in control of what they will say about you in your absence.
To be continued . . .
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote and peak performance speaker, business strategy facilitator commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. Follow him on social media, or WhatsApp him on +263718867255 or email [email protected]