Monday, December 27, 2010

Personal Branding

Known to some, unknown to some – Personal Branding is all about learning to position yourself for success, so that you become known for your passion and expertise. In the digital age, more and more individuals are focusing on personal branding to get a competitive edge in the marketplace. In reality though, emerging as a brand comes effortlessly for a few, but with a little smart-work, determination and self-marketing anyone can brand themselves to enhance their business and gain more publicity. 
Technically anyone with basic knowledge and skills is capable of personally branding. The big question is ‘how’. In recent times, it has been observed that more and more educators are interested in this space and are dwelling on researching on the basics. The concept primarily depends on how well we are networked, how good is our first impression, our personal visibility and self-promotion.  Personal Branding is considered to be that key to help us achieve success. It is imperative for one to also understand why one must indulge in ‘Personal Branding’ to realize its importance. We must remember that be it personally or professionally, ‘all are being judged.’ Secondly, most of the time, we have to constantly sell our ideas to teachers, managers, venture capitalists, friends and family, to make things happen. For this purpose, we need to convince them to take action. We will achieve success in this only if we market ourselves well. In a nutshell, personal branding has five benefits, you become the best choice for a promotion, it brings you happiness since you can turn ’work‘ into a ’hobby’, helps you command premium prices thereby giving you better compensations, helps you get more business and more perks.

I would like to share the DCCM personal branding process, which is quite an interesting concept by personal branding expert Dan Schawbel. This four step process is discussed below and is worth being practiced.

·         Discover - In this process, you need to ‘discover yourself’. You need to understand who you are, what you want in life, what is your passion, what are your goals. Once you list them down, you need to create a development plan that aligns your short-term and long-term goals.  Then design your own personal marketing plan (I plan to discuss in my next blog coming soon).

·         Create -  In the early days, traditional ways of personal branding, some of which are used even today,  like business card, professional portfolio, resume, cover letter and reference documents. With the digital era setting in, non-traditional ways like a video resume, LinkedIn profile, blog, Twitter and your existence on the various other social networks are considered to be a preferred mode of personal branding. It is important to note that while you create your brand, ensure that the content, including pictures and text, are concise, compelling and consistent with how you want to represent yourself.

·         Communicate – After creating, it is important to ensure that the content on your ‘personal brand is appealing’. Reason – you would like to garner interest of the most likely people who you would like go through the ‘personal brand’ you have created. For this purpose, you must ensure that you properly communicate your brand through self promotion.  Ideal way to do this is to first promote others before you promote yourself. Communication comprises guest posting on blogs, writing articles for magazines, becoming your own personal PR person (pitch to the media), attending networking events and speaking.

·         Maintain – Last but not the least, the brand people see has to show significant, gradual and consistent growth. For every new job, award, press article, and client victory (to name a few), everything you have created has to reflect that. Experts believe that the main reason to do this is since ‘You want to use what you did in the past to get what you want in the future’. There are some free tools by experts (again which I plan to discuss in my next blog) to check the popularity, reputation, usage and reference of your brand in the web-space.

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