Or a tuft for men; nor is it rainbow claws or jingbang ear hangs for ladies. Your personal brand is that which makes you stand out and remembered long after you have left the scene. You need not make it cost a ransom or walk a mile for it so long as you keep it natural and aligned with whatever image you want to project.
What exactly does a brand do. A brand identifies a particular product. Gives it recognition from a bunch. An image that goes with its positioning among the competitors. That which the consumer would unconsciously fall back upon when there is a choice to choose from. Or assures the customer comfort and confidence when there is a multitude of choice. A successful brand has a distinct personality.
That is exactly what you are to create when you launch upon your personal brand building. It is not going to be easy. It needs dedicated effort and ruthless honesty to explore about what you are yourself and what you want to be and why.
Take the FIVE STEP PROCESS to build your own personal brand.
1. Understand yourself. Take a total inventory of yourself. What are your values. Your strengths and weaknesses. Your attitudes and aptitudes. Your special skills and achievements. Make a special effort to understand your drawbacks and failures and the reasons why. Confirm whether this would repeat and what would you do to avoid. What are your academic qualifications; hard and soft skills. What is your background, circle, activities and sources of strength. Write down all these systematically
2. Assess what are your goals. Short term, medium term, and long term. Connect these with your personal inventory and see how they match. What are the shortcomings and how are you going to make up.
3. Carefully draw out the personality profile of the positions in your goals prescribe. Find out appropriate role models and study them minutely. Would you fit into that shape in all aspects.
4. Now start building your own profile fitting your aspirations. Identify and jettison all that which may impede with your intended personality. A very simple but interesting case at a much lower level comes to my mind. I was talking to a colleague about his son, a high school student. He was worried that his son hangs around with his friends aimlessly and does not give adequate time for studies. We decided to tactfully persuade his son to take tuition to junior class students for a fee and he can keep the money for himself. Within days the boy was very different: started avoiding his old associates; began studying in earnest; and he made particular effort to be seen by the people of his locality as a serious, hard working and responsible young person. When we asked him his response was “If I wanted to be considered a good tutor by the parents I have to live up to that image’. When even a schoolboy becomes visibly concerned about his image and changes his behavior can you not and should do since you are playing for much higher stakes.
5. Identify what are all the characteristics that you would prefer to highlight, strengths to take advantage of and the carriers of your personal brand and decide how you would go about enlarging upon them. These aspects and more we would be discussing in the next installment.