This is the story of a brand being born, in an age when social media was boardroom talk amongst the big shots of the world.
At 21 years of age, street car racing was the calling of a lifetime, until my father’s ultimatum introduced me to the world of hotels. Back in 2001, we had one hotel, which was the pride of my father’s decades of hard work.
In 2003, I attended a conference on the art of engaging your customers online. During those times, there was no Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.; I decided to reach out to our guests through the internet, which ultimately generated so much traffic that our hotel was running over-booked for days on end. In the end, we had to get another hotel up and running, with four more on the way in five years’ time. All the blood and sweat from gaining expertise in brand marketing led me to open my own digital marketing agency, which presently caters to many resorts and hotel chains.
A lesson to learn here is that it doesn’t take much to become a trusted personal brand. All that is required is an eye for catching upcoming trends, sharpness of thought and execution, and a lot of check-listing. There are a lot of ways in which having a personal brand identity will do wonders for you, even if you are an employee, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer.
Here are a few steps you can take, over a period of fourteen days, that will help you launch your own personal brand.
What is a brand?
For example, you and your friends are out for some food and you cannot decide amongst yourselves where to eat. Everyone is in the mood for some chicken; now that’s generic to food type. If one were to say ‘I’m in the mood for some KFC.’, the chicken itself becomes the brand because they feature a niche, a specific type of chicken that rolls off the tongue. You don’t say I want some fried chicken, you say you want some KFC. It is a similar case with clothing, cars, mobile phones, and flagship establishments.
- Wherever you start, the very first thing you need to do is find your niche. Find that one thing that your brand will stand for, cater to, and then go from there.
Your personal brand is what separates you from everyone else in the world.
Organise your thoughts and lay it on paper, to portray your own personal brand vision.
- How will people perceive you?
- Your visualisation of your personal and professional life.
What Are Your Values?
This is the driving force of your being; they form the core of your personality, which eventually helps with decision making. One could have the following set of values, which helped them make the best decisions in life:
They define what holds most importance in a person’s life. There is no upper limit that holds bars over your value tank; add as many as you can think of that hold true to you.
Prioritize These Values
In business, these values should help you hire the type of workforce that best amalgamates or agrees to the values the organisation stands for. These employees will more likely be able to serve the company’s needs and adapt to the environment faster.
When building your personal brand, it is not just about a better job or the growth of your company. It is about finding a balance within your values, even when they are at odds, and about finding happiness in your professional life. This is why prioritising your values will help you understand the right way to approach your vision.
Nothing Works Without Passion
Passion, in simple terms, is the things that you love doing with your time, which could also incorporate your values.
Intelligence, for example, might be one of your key values, and hence one of your passions could be to read a thought-provoking piece of literature. However, the aim here is to identify the passions that can help you figure out the things that would give the most rewards in return.
In layman’s terms, find the things that intrigue you and make you curious about cause and effect, something that makes you want to get better for personal reasons. You need to find a balance between personal and professional passions, such as designing, technology, family, travel etc.
Identify the Traits That Make You, You
This is simple. These are the unique qualities of your personality that have helped shape you into the person that you are today. There are five widely accepted personality traits: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Everything is on a spectrum; you don’t have to be a 100% of one thing. It is your own personal combination of these that will help you define what your personal brand stands for.
Now that we have established who you are and how you can personally add value to people’s lives, we come to the question of where you see yourself going with this. This is both a question of where you want to be professionally and personally. For instance, if one of your quality traits is the eye for design, then you know where you can begin laying the foundation of your brand identity, or the kind of audience you want to cater to with your design sense.
What in Life Has Proven to Be Rewarding?
We all have experiences in life that are on the scale of like and dislike. A great way to find what you can do as a means of employment is by finding things that prove to be rewarding. For example, you may love reading too much, but the idea of being a librarian may not be that tempting. It is the distinction between what you can do and what you enjoy doing.
Make a list!
Run through the stages of your life and list out all positive aspects of life that you enjoyed experiencing.
Cut That List Short, Finalise a Potential Vision
Separate the positives from the negatives, and then categorise all positive aspects. Keep narrowing down the list of categories, until you arrive at just a few left. At this point, you will be able to determine a potential employment for yourself, as a professional.
Find the Corresponding Profession From That List of Potential Options
You probably came this far into this because initially you had a basic idea for a potential profession. Now, however, you must have a narrowed-down idea of what brand of that profession you would want to work in. The idea was to arrive from vagueness into something specific.
This means that you might want to work as a digital marketer, but after following the above steps, you may come to a point of clarity, where you might realise you want to work in a social media firm or as a digital marketing executive for a tech firm.
Once you’re at a point where your profession is decided, backtrack your vision by beginning with the step that comes right before the final milestone. Go as far back as the very starting point of your brand. This could mean getting a certain type of education or a training workshop. There will be many steps before actually realising this vision of yours. Every profession begins with an entry-level position and then you move upwards towards perfecting the profession itself, to go on to become an influencer, which is what a personal brand is at the end.
While you’re trying to establish yourself as a brand, it is a great idea to use the following checklist to foolproof your vision:
- Find a list of people you admire from the profession you want to pursue.
- Delve deeper into their lives and lifestyle.
- Find people who are trying to make it in the same career sphere as you and follow their work.
- Learn from the best: follow in the footsteps of the people making it or breaking it.
- Find a way to improve upon the trail these influencers have blazed for you.
Consistency is key, even with the smaller things like a blog or a social media channel. One study found that:
Consistency speaks reliability and people generally want to work with someone they can count on, with regards to commitment and hard work.
This includes everything from response time to content-driven social posts.
Being a personal brand, there is a dire need for creativity and originality. In order to become an influencer, your experience in life, your successes, and downfalls all translate to the content and narrative you push out into the world. Being a personal brand is a mixed cocktail of all of that topped with a professional touch. By this, we mean a grade-A level website and design, along with electronic signature and the whole shebang. What remains to be attained is credibility, which comes over time.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.