How to build your personal brand

Shreya Krishnan, marketing communication specialist and public speaker, on the importance of making a name for yourself

By: Shreya Krishnan

When you say the word brand, images spring up in your mind. A unique design, a symbol, a sign, a word or a string of words or a combination of these. All of these create an image of a product and sets it apart from its competition. You connect with these brands in different ways and you have perceptions of them.
Branding is the process of marketing this image or idea, so it garners a following and identifies itself with a service or a product and builds its own unique identity. When people begin to market themselves and their careers, the process of personal branding comes into play. This process involves the establishing of the personality or a prescribed image or impression and creating mindshare amongst peers, workplaces, industry and communities.
“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto,” said Tim Ferriss, the American Author.
In context of personal branding, its also not so much about focusing on a brand building exercise, as much as it is showcasing your work and your overall persona to the outside world that would encounter you for multiple interactions.
The minute you put yourself out there and have an online or digital presence, your personal brand is already present. So, taking ownership of this truly empowers you to drive the content and context in a way that is meaningful to you.
It’s important to focus on building a personal brand because it is good to know how to share your voice with the world and establishes a credibility. It also helps create a strong network and creates job security in an unpredictable market.
For a career woman, it goes the extra mile by helping build an identity that is overarching the primary job role. It also helps build self-confidence as interacting with circles outside the regular zone of comfort builds a certain amount of credibility.
At the risk of gender stereotyping, women usually prefer to work within the purview of the standard work hours and don’t network beyond their immediate circle. They are also eternally managing both home and work and striking a balance is an effort as is, so building a personal brand usually takes a back seat and is low on priority.
Network and reputation are also concepts that tie in to personal branding. Network is who you know, and reputation is what others know you for. It’s good to build a network and invest in reputation as they yield long term results.
It’s good to consider where you stand in context of your reputation by assessing what people know about you, how do they feel, what do they think and say about you. It’s also good to know why and what we want out of investing in our reputation. It could be a range of reasons including attention, respect, work, business, money and trust.
“Reputation is a by-product of work. You can work on your skills. But you can’t work on a reputation.”
-Darius Foroux, Entrepreneur, Author and Podcaster.
A reputation is nothing more than the perception that other people have of you, which you have no direct control over and you can only influence it by two things – doing great work and treating people well.

There are quite a few benefits of personal branding, including:

  • Your online visibility increases
  • Your network can be leveraged better
  • You’ll become more identifiable in person
  • Your business will become stronger
  • You can leverage your brand to build partnerships
  • Your online relationships will flourish
  • You never know what might happen
  • You’ll build confidence
  • You control your brand image
  • Your credibility will grow
  • Achieving goals is easier
The first step to building a personal brand is to harness your personality and have an assessment of who you are. You must believe in yourself as a brand and know what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s also a great idea to curate your online presence in such a way that it works for you.

How do you go about it?
  • Create a website for yourself
  • Make sure that there’s value that you provide at every opportunity
  • Always share with a purpose in mind
  • Try and build relationships with other brands that have a good presence
  • Never allow yourself to be redundant and reinvent yourself at every step
  • Use channels and platforms that work for you and suit your personality
  • Strike a good balance between mile wide and inch deep
  • Use the many facets of your personality to build the content
  • Generate fresh ideas
  • Use different ways of communication
  • Take help and guidance of mentors
  • Take feedback as feedback and criticism as criticism and don’t confuse the two
It’s good to create a personal brand vision and define the target audience. Also, identifying the online and offline assets that you can leverage will help in building the plan. Owning the space that you choose to operate in and sharing your knowledge will help drive more people looking for the kind of content you share to come to you. It’s important to stay true to yourself and to the value system you uphold.

It’s also important to understand that Personal Branding is not self-promotion and marketing and is It’s a clear, deep and profound understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

Remember, you are at the core of this and you are doing this for yourself. Build and nurture both your brand and you.

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