Oprah, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos…Is personal branding just good for these celebrities because they are in the limelight so very often? We are looking at them now when they have already achieved success. But consider when they started out, how they defied status quo, how they charged on with their beliefs, how they leverage their talents to differentiate themselves and made sure everyone knew about it. More than a decade back, these icons mentioned here had to overcome obstacles that many of us would not have stood up to. They followed their passion consistently and have created new standards for others to aspire to or follow.
If you believe you don’t have to brand yourself, think again. If you don’t care, why should anyone do? In a split second of someone meeting you, a person makes up his mind about you. This person is then sizing you up over and over in his head. It will also most likely take more than 10 more interactions to undo that first impression, if desired. Chances are you were evaluated before you even uttered a word – YOU are the product, like it or not.
The fact is people buy your persona and your ideas first, then your company, followed by your products and services. A Personal Brand is not something you choose to have or not have. Everyone has a Personal Brand. The choice is: do you want to be a positive, negative or neutral brand? Let’s take Mercedes as an example. The one word that Mercedes wants its clientele to know them by is “prestige”. Owning a Mercedes makes the clients feel special. The same can be applied to you. If there is one word that sums up who you are, what will that be? Position that in the mind of your target audience and consistently reinforce that position. What emotions do you evoke? What values and qualities come to mind when someone thinks of you?
Building an effective personal brand means:
• You are clear about who you are and who you want to be
• You consistently develop yourself towards who you want to be
Personal branding is not about building a special image for the outside world; it is about understanding what is truly unique about you – your strengths, skills, values and passions – and using that to differentiate yourself.
So what can branding yourself do for you?
If you articulate and manifest your personal brand authentically, you will enjoy these immense benefits: greater visibility, enhanced credibility, premium compensation, more attractive opportunities, greater confidence and influence. No matter what position you are in, if you are a business owner, a team leader, a salesperson, a marketer, an engineer and regardless if you are just starting out or you have been in the industry for decades, personal branding is a must if you want to advance yourself and if you have longer term goals you have yet to achieve.
In, today’s world, competition is fierce and there are more and more people vying for the same job and the internet has made it so much easier for talents to be uncovered. So how do you really stand out from the crowd and add value to your team, your company? It’s all about personal branding. You gain trust by being an authority in your function or field and when people come to you to solve problems in your area of expertise. If you are in sales, customers want to buy from the salesperson they trust. The trust comes from the acknowledgement of the salesperson’s knowledge and commitment to service. And there is no shame in shouting loud about it. If you are struggling to sell yourself, the one product you have full control of, then it is time to invest in some training as part of developing your brand.
Why do we pay more for Starbucks than regular coffee? When we experience Starbucks, it is a lifestyle we are buying more than just a commodity, coffee. What is the added value you offer which will command you a premium, which will make you the top choice for the next promotion or for a new role you have not enrolled before?
As with marketing products, there are stages the brand goes through and time will tell if the brand has remained true and consistent, yet exploring new grounds. This is no different from marketing your own brand. Personal branding is not what you say you are, and it is not visual representations of a logo or an Armani suit you wear. You grow your brand as you grow your experiences and as you consistently deliver results that are driven by your values and passion.
Hence once you have established your credibility, you will attract more opportunities and people, which will in turn further increase your confidence. People are drawn to confident people who deliver what they say they will. What you do has more impact on your brand than what you say. Based on authentic motivations, you will be a positive influence to people around you and create new standards and new followings. It is definitely what you do for others that solidifies your brand.
If you are convinced by now that personal branding is crucial to your success, try completing these sentences as a preliminary start to identifying your personal brand.
I am great at _____________________________________(something you do well, your natural talents or your proven experience)
I do best when__________________________________(under what circumstances, or based on what you are passionate about)
I am ______________________________ (summarise your strengths and values of your niche area or talent, addressing your target audience with a clear differentiation from another person).
Everyone is a brand whether they are a celebrity or not. The sooner you know it, the sooner you manage it, you can control how others perceive you the way you want them to.
Featured in e-Marketer, published by Marketing Institute of Singapore
Christina Teo has enjoyed 22 years of management experience in multinationals such as IBM, Yahoo!, Acer, O2 and other well-known corporations, covering and living in Asian and European markets. Her successes include being a first marketing executive at the international operations of Acer, running a European marketing operation based in Paris at the age of 27, being a country manager in a foreign market at age 29, the first General Manager of Yahoo! Singapore and pioneered the O2 brand in Asia launching the first Windows-based PDA phone. Christina developed her techniques for personal success at work and at home, in the course of evolving her career from IT to dotcom to mobile industries.
Not only has she consistently pioneered new organizations and brands, she has seized opportunities to move into different industries and functional areas due to consistent delivery of her core values and commitment to excellence. Pursued Masters in Psychology at NYU, Certified Master NLP Practitioner, Emotional Intelligence & Life Coach, Christina brings unique insights from her experience in her training and is passionate about helping others with their personal and professional development.