It is no longer news that we live in a world where strong emphases are laid on digital footprints. A world where companies hire not by CV or Resume but by what information they fish-out from the internet about you. It’s a world where your online reputation as an individual can make or mar your success. A world where perception of you on social media can become your biggest resource or your worst nightmare. A research showed that over 90% of companies use social media tools and systems for recruiting most positions.
“You’re a brand! Take it or leave it.”
Howbeit, the concept of branding has come a very long way and dates as far back as the mid-17th century. Slave owners, farmers, cattle rearers and timber merchants in those days would as a sign of ownership label or tag their wares with markings or symbols using a hot iron rod. In fact, the word ‘brand’ is an old English that has a German origin and means ‘burning’ or ‘to burn’.
Now, fast forward to this century, the idea of branding has grown to become a behemoth and multi-billion dollar industry.
What Is A Brand?
A brand is more than just fancy logos, colours and catchy phrases. It’s an identity, a reputation or an impression. According to Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” Kristian Andersen wrote, “A brand is a collection of perceptions (that lives) in the mind of a consumer. Brands are born of experience and reflect reputation.” This translates to mean that your brand is nothing but the message you project to others that they remember when they think of you or have a need for what you do.
You’re probably familiar with famous brands like Google, Microsoft, Levi’s, eBay, PayPal, Apple, Amazon, Coca Cola, Starbucks, Nike, BMW, FedEx, Domino’s, McDonald’s and so on. But then, these are all but consumer brands and not person (people) brands.
What Then Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding otherwise known as self-branding is the art of packaging and presenting yourself in a way that differentiates you from others. It is a way of positioning yourself in the minds of your audience (employers, clients, customers, colleagues, investors, prospects, family and friends) as being capable, trustworthy, personable, reputable and so on and so forth.
The reality is this; you carry on your inside a measure of uniqueness that distinguishes you from everyone else on the surface of planet earth. That personal touch or signature that affirms you as being special and different. It lives within the very make up of your being — that is your DNA and it is peculiar to you and you alone.
You’d have to understand that it is a brand
new You world that we live in today. Personal branding has become something of a necessity because we live in a crowded world. And for you to be outstanding, you’d have to package yourself to stand out and stand tall.
The likes of Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Usain Bolt, Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Malala Yousafzai, T.D Jakes, David Beckham, Bill Gates are just few mentions of those who have differentiated themselves in their sphere and cashed in into what makes them unique.
"To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s that simple" - Tom Peters
Tom Peters, who in 1997 coined the term ‘personal branding‘ wrote, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.”
Besides, people buy into who we are first, before buying into what we do — the business we run or the organisation we work for. This therefore makes it really important for us as individuals to give attention to building a strong and thriving personal brand before anything else.
|To Be Continued!|
Please, be on the look out for the concluding part of this title where I will detail how you can turn your personal brand into an asset.
In the mean time, what are your thoughts about personal branding? Share with me in the comments box below.