In the case of a product, the purpose of a brand is attracting customers. Another motive for branding is to communicate to a specific audience when you have various brands in the same category. For example, Nike, Reebok, Puma, Adidas are sportswear brands and each services a different audience.
How do I brand myself?
For a person, branding takes place in many ways. Your communication style, your clothing style, your values and beliefs systems are all part of a personal brand. It is who you are, what you like, what you do, where you come from. Knowing yourself inside out helps to know which part of your brand you would like to communicate more, which part needs strengthening, which part is not serving your goals.
People change so your brand changes
Brands evolve over time. What you were when you were 5 years old and what you are today is different. Your beliefs systems have changed. Believing in Santa Claus is most probably part of your childhood! Your current brand embraces beliefs that are congruent with your life experiences. Beliefs and values are part of the invisible part of the “iceberg”. Your clothing style is part of your public brand.
Aligning your personal brand to your goals
The importance of each component of your personal brand depends on your objectives and what works for you to achieve excellence. A project manager would need an analytical mind, organisational skills, a certification in Prince 2 as some of the tools required for a successful career. What would differentiate one project manager to another one is how effective is their personal branding. Taming one’s insecurities/fears and managing one’s emotions when the stakes are high will determine, to a large extent, who gets the job or promotion or the highly sought after contract. Getting the best education is definitely an asset. Strong interactive skills (communication, relationship management) are as important, if not, more critical to acquire for powerful personal branding. To be a great communicator is all about knowing how best you communicate!
Our personal brand is our magnet
Personal branding takes place when we are dating, going out with friends or mingling with the family. Our values, cultural norms, emotional management determines who we attract as friends, potential partners. The status of our relationship with family members is determined by how well we understand what makes or breaks a relationship.
Successful branding is about inspiring others – change yourself to change others.
What we use to brand ourselves depends on the contextual situation, the person we are interacting with and how high are the stakes. The popularity of a personal brand will also depend on how far we can go to adjust our branding to connect to the other person. If punctuality is a core value and having to work with people whose relationship with time is more fluid requires an assessment of how important is punctuality as our core value. Expecting people to change so as to suit our needs is not realistic. Leading by example is a possible option as it encourages the person to meet you halfway.
In short, personal branding is not about marketing yourself or having great PR skills. It is not an exact science. It requires willingness, commitment and discipline to accept, understand oneself and know what works best for one’s own powerful brand.