In an era of crowded digital personas, determining your niche and purpose is an imperative and not-just-another-good-to-do-by-the-side-line investment. As a communication professional building go-to-market strategies for various brands, I have often thought about what makes building a personal brand different from what we do. And the answer is simple: nothing. Applying the same principles as marketing communications to yourself is table stakes to curating your brand.
A veritable brand always begins with understanding consumer insights, charting out clear objectives, gap analysis, defining the message, and understanding the most effective opportunity to present those messages to the target audience. Oh well, also know your target audience and don’t cast too wide of an audience net.
Gather consumer insights
For truth be well told, your authentic self needs to burst into attention like brilliant sunshine. But for that, you need to take cognisance of telling insights that will guide you better. In the realm of personal branding, these insights are nothing but decisions that have informed your life so far, repetitive/ most-defining patterns, life journey, growing-up years that have shaped your thought process, so on and so forth. Additionally, any personality surveys that you may have taken, past appraisal ratings/ peer feedback are also important points to not be neglected. Make copious notes, keep them coming!
The desired destination point
Defining the desired result is always a good place, to begin with, along with a set timeline to measure progress is hygiene, yet often most neglected. Set clear goals for yourself; crowdsource opinions from a coach, peers, seniors, friends, and family to understand current need gaps and follow it by setting dedicated time for pieces of training, self-learning, etc. Charting out a clear desired point will also help you nail down your proposition more mindfully. Most importantly, be patient. Existing patterns of the last 30 odd years will take their time to dissolve and rebuild for a newer/ reformed you
Love the drawing board
Inching closer to your desired personal brand is an ongoing and iterative journey. It will require you to set objectives for the impressions you want each potential target group to have of you. It will then merit to redesign decisions ranging from as basic as words you choose to communicate, tone of voice, what you wear, your social media presence to what new learnings you need to imbibe, and where and when to network. Your constituencies depend on the goals you have set out for yourself: new job, career pivoting, advance in your career, build your executive presence, or be simply viewed as a subject-matter expert in your domain.
What’s your message?
This simple question requires a healthy level of self-awareness. This leads you to build a true narrative – which is genuinely you. Your message should inspire your audience, be relatable, memorable, and is consistent. Don’t ape your role models without much thought or put a sales spin and always be sure that your personal and professional avatars speak to each other. Take your cape off and share personal stories. In the end, always ask yourself: Is my brand oozing with gravitas?
Shaking hands with the right opportunities
Not very many people are prepared or consciously care for consistency. The post-launch or the sustenance period as we say in communications parlance need not be in limbo. Being available for the right opportunities means you take cognizance of what lies ahead and treat each opportunity as the gift that it is. Make conscious choices of the platforms, occasions, events, reasons to let people know more about you. It may sound a bit of an overstepping, but it is akin to managing a monthly calendar for your brand— consistent, thought-after, and result-driven.
There is no single path to success. Keep showing up and be patient. The only right way to shine your brand is to start today, or else. Lastly, remember, building a personal brand is not about putting wool over other people’s eyes. It’s about allowing the authentic you shine through in the vast sea and be remembered for who you are.
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