Personal branding is a mantra we hear so much off these days so we decided to get the inside story of how senior professionals manage the vexing activity of branding themselves.
It truly is the age of branding. And I imbibed that early in my career (I did a Post Graduation from MICA & started my career in marketing in NDTV) but it wasn’t till I started my own organisation did I start looking at branding with a different perspective.
As an entrepreneur, my personal #brand was closely intertwined with my organisation’s brand & started meriting some careful consideration.
So what exactly do I do?
- I reflect on my strengths & weaknesses & what fires me up regularly and focus on leveraging that. I keep my goal upfront. I ensure that I am #authentic in my interactions and handle contentious issue up front.
- I focus on going an extra mile when delivering to clients. That little difference makes all the difference.
- I read voraciously. Whenever I meet anyone I focus on learning from the interaction. I then actively look at sharing what I learn. This discipline helps me stay updated and sharing not only establishes my credibility but reinforces what I have learnt. Sharing could be on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) or Whatsapp #professional groups, 1-0-1 over coffee or in seminars and workshops.
The key is to consistently do the little things which ultimately determine your professional brand.
Did I make many conscious efforts to build my professional brand? How did I ensure that my efforts are authentic and the outcomes remained permanent in my nature, in my personal conduct; in all my actions and reactions? Finding answers to these questions made me to think about 3 effective ways I practiced to build my personal reputation; professional brand.
Authenticity: Pure #ordinary, but genuine, actions can get us extra-ordinary results; personally and professionally. Over a period when we constantly achieve outstanding results through authentic ordinary actions, we get noticed by our stakeholders. The effect is akin to watching repeat ads. We get noticed again and again. The outcomes of our actions get etched in the hearts of people who matter to our professional growth. We get noticed and we get constant ‘recall value’.
#Communication: If we are not good in communication and if we don’t invest hugely to improve it continuously, it would cause corrosion of our brand image without being aware of it. Image erosion is a slow process! If you are not convinced, please check your black and white photo prints! We may be excellent technically, theoretically and practically. But, how can we create positive impression if we are unable to communicate (sell rather than tell) effectively? It is like the ‘content writing’ and ‘creative writing’ in ads. We need to be expressive to become impressive in our professional brand building.
#Progressive #Thinking: James Allen’s writings reinforce the philosophy that one becomes what one thinks of being. In professional brand building, this human aspect can be ignored only at one’s own peril. For building our professional brand, we must do periodic reflections at different levels of career journey for self realisation, reinforcement and to reconnect with our thinking, to ensure that we have full faith in what we are and what we want to become next. This progressive approach is akin to rebranding (of companies’ logos and core values). Remember the universe grew out of progressive thinking. To build our own professional brand, attitudinal transformation and renewal to think progressively are vital.
When genuine ordinary thought-forces are directed constantly and in harmony, consistent positive achievements could be made. When those achievements are accumulated over a period of time and communicated effectively, we rise high.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded in our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts”.
I thought hard and long about what I have actually done over the 19 Plus years that I have been in the work force to build my personal brand and I surprised myself. What I actually did, not what I said but what I did, was so different than what was fashionable to say:
I did the obvious like Social media channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter since these channels became available and yes before that networking through events, cold calls and whatever it took.
However, what I actually did consistently over the years pre social media & post social media era is the following and that is what I want to share. This is what built my personal brand and today is a source of business.
- I actively try to find people who I can help professionally. From my colleague to boss to my kid’s classmate’s mom baking from home. I have noticed when you help people without an immediate ROI, Magic happens.
- I listen carefully. It gives me insight as to what does a person want or need so I am able to add value. I have heard people say express your opinion on social media to build your personal brand. Yes, that showcases your thought process and competence. However, most people are not interested in what you have to say as much as they are interested in what they are saying. Everyone is dying to be heard. LISTEN
- I have focused on excellence in my work and integrity in business.
I feel these are the real and honest strategies that I have used. Hope this helps.
As I shifted my career path from Consulting (have spent more than a decade with Gallup Consulting) to running a people consulting firm with my partners, the concept of brand building acquired a new dimension. In a smaller firm, your personal brand and corporate brand are so closely linked, that at times it is difficult to delineate the two. The importance of building the personal brand is much higher to scale up your business. If I reflect on the last four years, the following things have helped me in building my personal brand:
- Having a clear Personal Vision: The vision needs to come before the brand, always. It is what makes you unique. It helps in dealing with internal biases, prejudices- an essential stepping stone to success.
- Networking: Being responsible for Business Development forced nudged me into networking and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. Genuinely getting to know people, connecting with them, while staying true to yourself and your vision works!
- “Reading on the Go”: Articles, Newsletter, Research Papers, Marketing Mailers……. The more sources you tap into for reading, the more complete picture it provides of what works and what does not. More importantly, it provides a glimpse into where are we heading towards in the future.
Last but not the least, your real personal brand is independent of your designation, name of the corporates you work with.
For the road is long,
Miles to go alone,
When your only real friend is yourself,
and your true brand is etched in stone………….
Hope you got some inspiration from the perspectives shared.
Keep Learning, Keep Sharing!