Table of Contents
Personal branding is not a new concept and there are many questions that have been put forward on how one can create it and most importantly inhabit and maintain that brand. It has become very important in the recent times and this has majorly been attributed to the increase in competition in the corporate world. Many people lack the information on what personal branding is and many have come to associate branding to companies alone. This paper has presented extensive information on why it is important for one to have a personal brand. Majorly it has been that branding provides one with a focus for their personal development and at the same establishes one as a thought leader. That notwithstanding it allows one excel in their personal careers as there exist mutual relationship that exists between personal branding and success. With this in mind the essay has delved to provide a personal analysis of the ways that I will grow my personal brand. In specific there is a presentation future strategies that will be employed in ensuring that my personal brand identity stands out. Ultimately what the presentation seeks to put forth is the deliverables and differentiating points of difference that will be part of my business career and one that will characterise my brand image.
In this ever-growing world of the modern age, traditionally limited usage of the term branding in the context of companies should be extended to the concept of personal brand. This essay defines personal brand as an image that a person or a business projects, referring to the impression that one perceives from a person or a business. Thus, branding is basically the “personal inventory of promises and expectations” (Rein et al. 2006). Recently, the concept of personal branding has been a hot topic, where one may look at the concept as a celebrity aspect while others view it as a function of how active one is on social media platforms. Beneath the surface of such, the concept of personal branding appeared to be more profound and subtle than what it has been taken to be in the past. It is said that in order to achieve personal branding, there are a number of steps and strategies that must be taken and made (Harris & Alan, 2011). Therefore, this paper seeks to analyse the mechanisms that I will utilise in growing my personal brand and how it will differentiate me from other brands.
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Building My Personal Brand
The importance of personal branding in one’s personal, business and professional lives makes it essential for individuals to build the brand that suits them the most. It is certain to note that everyone has a brand that is unique and this is whether they are cognisant of it or not. The realisation of this notion therefore makes me to be critical of the image I would want to project in the future. The natural desire to be associated with a good brand led me into visioning that one day I will be that person that everyone will want to look up to and emulate. I have come to realisation that an attractive personal brand will lead to press, vendors, clients and customers to be will be more willing to reach out.
Upon such, I plan to embark on a process of building a personal brand after my graduation that will differentiate me and my business career from other persons in the long run, aiming to make me unique from personal brands of other top-tier undergraduates. According to Khedher (2014), points of differentiation are what people will remember about a certain brand. It is said that the people who have been concentrating on positioning of brands have been largely paying attention to points of difference, the benefits which sets a particular brand apart from the competition with other brands.
Furthermore, Hearn (2008) noted that apart from the consideration of points of difference, the points of parity between one brand and another is also an important factor. Upon such, I realised that points of differentiation by itself will not be enough to sustain by brand against competition from other accomplished undergraduates. I will thus endeavour to understand the frame of reference within which my personal brand will be working and address the features it will have in common with other personal brands in order to have an effective brand positioning tactic.
The Desirables of my Personal Brand
Distinctiveness will be a focus of my personal brand in order to make it more desirable. I will find out what makes me unique from other people and leverage my strengths with panache (Gehl, 2011). In the course of my business career, I will ensure that I tackle tasks not only with more effort, but also in a creative way so as to leave an impression that is distinct to my customers. I will attempt to do things like sending handwritten notes and other gestures to new clients to appreciate them for their business as a creative way to handle them (Chen, 2013).
Finding my Niche
Chen, (2013) outlines that personal brand value is critical in branding as it outlines the purpose and the direction of one’s personal brand. What will be the benefit of having a personal brand value? It will be useful in providing a yardstick that I will utilise in the evaluation of my life choices. There are many possible values that one can have and project to other people, however my personal brand value that I would wish to be recognised with will be credibility. This brand value is essential as ones people identify me as being credible then the level of trust and positive perception towards my brand will be heightened.
Being concise and specialisation is key to anyone willing to enhance their brand identities (Ulrich & Norm, 2008). Rampersad, (2009) outlines that the most successful personalities such as Steve Jobs have become successful as they build their brands on a specific niche. Therefore, as I will be progressing in my career, I will find my niche and specifically areas where I can specialize (Ulrich & Norm, 2008). I will also strive to build my reputation as an expert of a given field in an attempt to effectively grow my personal brand. After finding my niche, I will invest in it by becoming more knowledgeable in it. This will be achieved through doing extensive research, investing my resources in relevant trainings and also taking my understanding of that particular field to new heights (Rampersad, 2009). Additionally, I will struggle to get other people talk positively about me. Whereas in most instances it always seems difficult to control what other people say about you, I will make a point of developing and nurturing personal brand ambassadors. I will identify the key relationships that I perceive to be mutually beneficial and spend some good time in growing them. Lastly, I will develop more confidence in my perspective. I believe that it is always easy to be in an agreement with a person who has confidence in what he or she is saying. As such I will ensure that I have sufficient facts to back up my point of view and remain confident in the opinion that I harbour (Rampersad, 2008). Having a successful brand entails different stages and therefore I am cognisant that for my brand to be success I would need to base my brand identity based on the hierarchy provided in the diagram below.
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Main Deliverables of my Personal Branding
Personal brand Manifesto and Message Map
Labrecque, Ereni, & George, (2011) posits that in the current changing job search landscape, having a personal branding manifesto has been seen to be very critical and is no longer optional. Job recruiters have to hire from a pool of suitable candidates and what sets one apart is how they are perceived externally. Since I desire to reach a higher level of personal branding, I will endeavour to produce the following deliverables in coming up with a unique brand identity that will be my selling point. Primarily, I will start by creating a personal brand manifesto. My personal brand manifesto will exist to present the story of the individual I endeavour to be. This will entail the promise of my personal brand, something that will be the reason why people will want to look up to. Additionally, I will create a message map, a medium which I will use to articulate who I am, and what the customers can expect from me. In this case, I will include a sound bite of eight minutes length that will act as a short synopsis that I will use in introducing myself to my audience (Labrecque, Ereni, & George, 2011).
Social Media Accounts and Website
Many successful companies work tirelessly in leveraging social media with the aim of boosting their online visibility. This is no different with personal branding and Labrecque, Ereni, & George, (2011) highlight that using social media platforms in projecting a consistent brand image as being very critical. On the other hand Wee & Ann, (2010) notes that being consistent is important in controlling other people’s perception of my brand. Having this in mind I will create a Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook page, which I will use to project my personal brand. My digital presence will be like an extension of my offline self. The online platforms will be great mechanisms to stay top of mind and build my value in the eyes of my audience. Through these platforms, I will be sharing pieces of my opinions, the projects that I will be working on, and what I will have to offer that will have the ability of helping others. I will be aiming to produce quality posts at least one every week to showcase what I do. This will be either in the form of a video, visual, or a written content (Lair, Katie, & George, 2005). I will also create my personal website, and include all the information that relates to me. Having a personal website will enable me to rank for my name in the search engines. I will however start with a simple website that ranges between two to three pages and link it to my social platforms.
Speaker’s Sheet and Media Training
Branding one’s identity has been noted as being key in projecting oneself to the audience. One of the most important facets that Wee & Ann, 2010) outline is the use of a speaker sheet is one of the most important marketing collaterals in helping becoming a professional speaker. Seeking for speaking engagements at conferences in the course of my business career will be among my main deliverables. This will be videotaped so that I can continuously review it and submit it to close friends for critique and ensure my continuous improvement. I am also aware of the importance of interviews, broadcast, print, and online interviews. Thus, I will enrol in a media internships and training as a way to ensure I am ready for the interviews. Having a list of the most wanted media will also be fundamental in my personal branding initiative. The most wanted media list will be the list of those outlets that I will target to be interviewed on and hence project my brand (Rampersad 2009).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Strategic Image
Being visible on search engines is key in improving the online visibility of a webpage or website. Keller, M, & Isaac, (2011) simply notes that the more frequently one’s website appears the more likely visitors will want to access the website. With this in mind I will create the SEO for my name and my expertise so as to make sure other people can find me by keying in my name. I will also rehearse and create my presentations which shall include power point and other visual software that are easy to create. Moreover, I will write numerous contents for my personal website and other publications. Lastly, I entail to cooperate with strategic image partners on my personal style, colour choices, and even hairstylist that will ensure my outlook is a reflection of the person I am.
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Points of Difference within My Personal Branding
Defining my brand image
Richard Branson and virgin, bill gates and Microsoft; provide examples of individuals whose brand identities are very distinct and their brand images are inseparable from their companies. Swaminathan, Karen, & Zeynep, (2007) notes that what makes ones brand image special is how consistent, authentic and impactful they project to other people. After getting clear on my personal branding identity, I will embark on defining my strongest selling points which will be projected as my brand image. My points of difference, which will be my unique selling propositions, will be about considering the kind of impact that I will want to have on people, and what quality will be special and unique about myself that will enable me to stand out above others in the business world. I believe that having strong and favourable associations that are unique and that can distinguish my personal brand image from other brands in the same frame of reference will be fundamental to the successful positioning of my brand (Swaminathan, Karen, & Zeynep, 2007).
My flexible personality
Personality flexibility is a key ingredient in ensuring one’s brand is different from others. I will be flexible to reinvent myself every time a new challenge show up, so that I can shift into a more meaningful work and rebut the perceptions that might have hindered the progress of my business career. The first step that I will take will be defining my destination. In doing so, I will figure out the areas which I want to invest my energy. I will do so by checking out the relevant trade journals of industries, attempt some informational interviews and try some internship. Additionally, I will spend more time in building the skills that will be necessary for the new paths that I chose to tread on (Keller, M, & Isaac, 2011).
My unique Selling Propositions
External perception of one’s brand image is very critical as it sets out one apart from other brands. Karaduman, (2013) posits that one’s unique selling proposition is what people will remember me for, and as such I will have to try all means to use it to my advantage. I will be willing to reinvent myself with speed each time I lose popularity courtesy of market changes. In leveraging on the points of difference, I am also aware of how the previous experiences of a person in his personal branding can distinctively shape his new brand and help him to stand out. Finally, I will use the characteristics that distinguish me from others in the market to my advantage, even if the characteristics won’t be relevant to my work.
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How I Intend to Achieve my Desired Positioning
Attaining a brand image that matches brands like Steve Jobs is no mean fete as it takes extensive research on the key deliverables that will be part of one’s brand identity. There are a number of things that I am not able to do now but I will willingly do them in the future to achieve the desired positioning of my personal brand. The internet has shaped our day to day living and therefore with this in mind I recognize that I will have to increase my online presence in the future and become more active. I have learned that the strength of my brand will not necessarily depend on the number of followers that I have on the social media platforms, but by the sum of the activities I will be doing online. I will spare more time for online engagements, comment on articles, share my thoughts and maintain consistency.
The other thing that I plan on doing is inform people every time I do something. I am always the kind to do things in seclusion but with the desire to position my personal brand effectively, I will have to be more interactive with diverse groups of people. This is because in most cases nobody will notice the good things you have done unless you share it with them. And this is advantageous in personal branding. I will be keeping people informed when I want to launch a new business, when I have made a certain amount of sales, and even sharing with them the articles that I have featured in. Lastly, I will begin optimizing my social profiles for my personal brand. I will communicate who I am, what I have done, and how I conduct myself through my profiles and biography. The diagram below provides a visual presentation on how I will nurture my personal brand
Source: (Rampersad, 2009).
Limitations of Personal Branding
When a person undertakes a branding campaign, he or she establishes himself or herself as an expert in a particular field. As such Ulrich & Norm, (2008) outlines that personal branding can easily get in the way when a professional wants to expand services. For instance, introduction of new services might be difficult to a web designer who wants to add video marketing and logo work to his portfolio of skills. This is because the previous branding has already established him or her as person with expertise in web designing. Additionally, when personal branding is self-managed, it comes with its own risks. If it is seasoned with inconsistencies and poor management, the brand is prone to suffer negative consequences. When the social media is managed inappropriately, and the website is of low quality, the brand can easily become undesirable in the market place. Branding also tends to take a lot of time and energy. A professional has to allocate sufficient money to maintain the campaigns of personal branding. Lastly, when a professional brands himself so well, he might attract many clients but at the same time there can be a risk of alienating some clients who might perceive him as being expensive. The creation of a perfect personal branding has a potential of altering the perception of the costs of a professional’s services, even if the professional maintains the prices or make them to cost less than what his or her competitors offer.
Just like companies seek to project a positive brand image to the rest, I have realised that having a strong brand identity is critical in ensuring that I excel and set myself apart from the competition. There are various deliverables that I have outlined that will help me in building my brand image. They include the creation of a personal brand manifesto, having presence on social media platforms, Search engine optimisation and media training. How the brand will be perceived externally will be dependent on my unique selling points. Some of the selling points that will characterise my brand value is credibility and having a flexible personality that will allow me to deal appropriately with the different situations that I will encounter in life. In creating a personal brand, it is always important to do all of the things which this assignment has enumerated while seeing the world as your stage. I know that something amazing only takes place when a person wears his or her passion in the career he or she is pursuing. I plan on doing the same since I know through having the passion in my business career; my personal branding will develop in a natural way (Karaduman, 2013). Hence, in the journey to build my brand, I will not sit in the audience, but step out from behind the curtains and let the world know I exist.
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