You are a reflection of your corporate brand. So you need to make sure that your image is congruent with that of your organisation, business and firm you represent.
Let me give you an even broader example: we were on a train in Switzerland and a group of rowdy people in our carriage were behaving in an unseemly manner. Although we had no connection with them, we were embarrassed because from their accents, we recognised that they were South Africans. The image they created would not enhance the reputation of our country. So individually and collectively, their ‘personal branding’ was not congruent with the image we would hope that South Africans would project.
There is a strong link between personal and corporate branding. Let’s first clarify what we understand by the various concepts. And here I thank the various authors and ‘experts’ from whom I have learnt over the years.
What is branding?
- Is a process of building an image for a company or product.
- Offers the pledge of quality or superiority over competing products.
- Comprises the visual, emotional and cultural images associated with a company or product.
What is ‘personal branding’?
- Is the process whereby an individual builds an image for themselves.
- Helps to hi-light competitive advantage.
- Is about differentiation and about becoming visible amongst the masses.
- Is the foundation for personal success.
As with individual leadership, it is not what you do, but who you are and who you become.
Benefits of Personal Branding
Personal branding is about you!
So, what are some of the benefits of paying attention to personal branding?
In ‘The Brand Called You’, the author Peter Montoya says: ‘Personal branding lets you control how other people perceive you... You're telling them what you stand for -- but in a way that's so organic and unobtrusive that they think they've developed that perception all by themselves.… When done right, it's irresistible. . .’
Why is ‘personal branding’ important?
- Through ‘personal branding’ visibility and exposure are maximised in the corporate world.
- The process helps you to become the ‘person of choice’.
- You attract business opportunities.
- Interpersonally you gain admiration, respect and support.
- It helps you to reach potential.
Don’t be a ‘generic’
The message is clear.
- Differentiate yourself from the masses.
- Develop your unique talents.
- Build on your competitive advantage.
- Stand out in a crowd.
- Be the ‘person of choice’.
- Network your way to success.
Develop your personal brand
It is important to remember that your ‘personal brand’ has to be an authentic reflection of your true self. To sustain effectiveness it cannot be a ‘veneer’.
‘Personal branding is not about building a special image for the outside world, it is about understanding your unique combination of rational and emotional attributes – your strengths, skills, values and passions – and using these to differentiate yourself’ (William Arruda)
How does an individual go about developing their ‘personal brand’ in a positive manner?
- Have your personal strategy in place – vision, values and critical success factors.
- Align your personal branding to this.
- Understand your unique talents, develop, share.
- Address your relevant weaknesses.
- Network effectively, be visible.
- Become a leader in areas important to you.
- Have a personal motto and live by it.
Become ‘the person of choice’
In our workshops we look at constructive ways in which individuals can become ‘the person of choice. These tips are also useful in sustaining the impression that others have.
The input from one of these workshops is consolidated and may be found in the post, ‘Ten tips to help you become the person of choice’.
Regarding the impact of personal branding, please remember:
- Believe in yourself.
- Be your ‘authentic self’.
- First impressions count.
- Manners are an outward expression of your respect for others.
- Be professional.
- Promote yourself – have confidence and speak out – without being arrogant.
- Consider feedback seriously and take appropriate action.
- Continuously improve.
Books and websites
- William Arrunda: Reach communications consulting (reachcc.com)
- Brenda Eckstein: Networking Tactics (personal strategy and networking)
- Brenda Eckstein: ABCs of Effective Networking
- Brenda Eckstein: ‘Ten Tips to help you become the Person of Choice’
- Frost, R.: Me incorporated: Your own magnetic brand
- Tom Peters (1997): The brand called you, Fast Company.
- Rubin, H. (1997): The Princessa: Machiavelli for women, Bloomsbury: Great Britain.