Definition: Personal branding is a promotional strategy which individuals use to project their strengths to the outside world. Optimal personal branding should enable those who use it to stay ahead in their careers and eventually become authorities in their areas of specialization. In a scenario characterized by aggressive competition, there is a need for individuals to advertise their personal attributes in a way that will help them reach their goals.
Moreover, those who don’t articulate and present their personal characteristics to the public risk character mutilation or assassination from competitors. Tom Peters is credited with popularizing personal branding in his 1997 article “A Brand Called You.” Personal branding is widely used by celebrities, entrepreneurs, politicians.
Content: Personal Branding
Examples of Personal Branding
Many people in various spheres all over the world have successfully applied personal branding to achieve success in life.
For instance, former President Trump was able to survive the vicious attacks on him to emerge as US president in 2016 due to his strong personality. Some other examples are presented below:
Example #1: Oprah Winfrey
From a very humble background, Oprah Winfrey rose to become one of the most successful women in history, thanks to personal branding. Realizing that she loved interviewing people at an early age, Oprah went on to establish the very popular Oprah Winfrey show in 1986. With nearly 37 million viewers, her 1993 interview of Michael Jackson remains the most-watched interview in history. She has since added many achievements to her glistening career.
Astute personal branding has rewarded Winfrey immensely. For instance, Forbes’ compilation of “The World’s Billionaires” had Winfrey as the only black billionaire in the world between 2004 and 2006.
Life magazine considers her among the 100 people that changed the world, alongside others like Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, etc. She is the only living woman on the list.
She has also been branded “arguably the world’s most powerful woman,” by CNN and time.com, amongst many other accolades.
Example #2: Neil Patel
Neil Patel is a highly successful marketing expert, internet personality, and CEO of a number of companies. He found out early that he had flair for marketing and at the age of 16, created Advice Monkey, an advertising agency.
Though Advice Monkey was not successful, he continued to build his personal brand around digital marketing and has since found considerable success. He is now a respected authority, mentor and influencer in the niche.
Personal Branding Strategies/Tips
However, to make the desired headway in our careers and life as a whole requires that individuals brand themselves in ways that are acceptable to the norms of the environment they find themselves.
In other words, to achieve one’s goals, personal attributes such as skills, educational qualifications, wisdom, philanthropy, etc must conform with the norms of one’s immediate society. Given below are the various tips suggested for the beginners:
- Dress well
It is said that looking good is good business and that the way you dress is the way you are addressed. Thus, no matter the strength of your personal attributes, you’ll look very ordinary if you lack a good dress sense.
- Develop strong communication skills
Personal branding is mainly about an individual advertising his or her strengths to the public. To achieve this effectively requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Whether you are writing exams, answering questions in a job interview, addressing a crowd in a political campaign rally, or conducting a viral marketing campaign, the need for strong communication skills can never be overemphasized.
- Respect your society
Personal branding should not only be concerned about extolling one’s individual qualities. It should rather be broader by considering the acceptable socio-cultural norms of the individual’s environment.
Conforming with societal dictates positions like a disciplined, morally sound, and law-abiding citizen is necessary. This can help complement your other personal attributes, make others hold you in high esteem, and pave the way for you to succeed in your career.
- Be an authority in your field
It is said that knowledge is power. To be ahead of your competitors requires that you be an encyclopedia of knowledge in your area of specialization.
Expert knowledge is an asset that enables you to speak authoritatively on all matters in your field as well as be a consultant to others. One way to expand your knowledge and skills is through continuing personal development (CPD), especially via formal education.
- Solve problems
One of the easiest and quickest ways to establishing a strong personal brand is by being a problem solver. Learning the habit of helping people not only makes them love you but can translate to significant success financially.
For instance, the internet is a place where millions of people visit each day for one solution or the other. Websites that strive to provide these visitors with the solutions they seek not only attract heavy traffic but also more profitability through increased patronage of their products and services.
- Work on your weaknesses
Every human being has his or her strengths and weakness as well. While you promote or advertise your strengths, try to make out time to improve on your weak areas. Persistent efforts at improvement will soon turn weaknesses into strengths.
Importance of Personal Branding
Personal branding is a powerful public relations tool or concept that can help individuals ensure that they succeed. Below are a few of the several reasons why personal branding should not be taken for granted:
- Makes people realize that public opinion matters
The need for personal branding is premised on the notion that individuals need to build a strong and acceptable opinion about themselves for the public in other to compete effectively.
Realizing that competitors will go to any length to pull you down and that public opinion (even if it is wrong) can sometimes make a difference makes it imperative that individuals be extremely mindful of desperate competitors as well as their public image.
- Can give you an edge
Personal branding is all about promoting oneself to the outside world. When this is conducted optimally, it can be the edge an individual needs to land an opportunity.
A good example is applicants submitting their CVs for a job position. Most times, the selected applicant is the one that not only tailors his or her CV to meet the demands of the job but also brands his or herself so effectively during oral interviews that the employers have no option but to offer him or her the position.
- Helps to ensure discipline and consistency
Although change is the only permanent thing in life, change can occur in a consistent and disciplined manner. In personal branding, the individual needs to consistently conform to the dictates of his or her brand. This requires a high level of discipline on the part of the person.
Consistency and discipline ensure that the outside world does not see differences between the person and the brand thereby creating an atmosphere of doubt or disbelief in the brand.
- A key to success
Developing your personal brand to include attributes like trust, honesty, friendliness, diligence, efficiency and similar virtues can be the difference between success and failure both in your career and in life as a whole.
Those who have managed to build attractive and commendable personal brands which conform to societal expectations are more likely to have more opportunities to succeed than vice versa.
Personal branding is an important marketing strategy or concept used by people to showcase their unique qualities to the outside world. If conducted optimally, personal branding has the ability to enable individuals to compete effectively and eventually succeed in life. It is a necessary condition for success because those who don’t describe themselves to others risk being described wrongly, especially by competitors.
Every human being operates in a wider environment or social context. Therefore those who wish to brand themselves effectively must respect the socio-cultural norms of their environment.