Article By Nisha Chandran, Senior Manager – Training and Development, AVTAR Group
Today, personal branding matters more than it ever did not only because of the significant market value it carries with it, but also because of the opportunities it offers. For women in particular, a strong personal brand can open the door to new business and career opportunities. Personal brand is a combination of all your real-life interactions. It’s about how you build relationships, how you respond to situations, and the impressions you leave behind.
You can either take charge in shaping your image and identity, or you can let your brand be construed as others choose to see you, tempered by their impressions or misconceptions of who you are. Personal branding is not a “nice to have” today – it is an essential element for all professionals who want to advance, thrive, and grow. We need to have clarity on exactly what we stand for in the world, and how we stand apart from others, and communicate that competitive difference with confidence and clarity. If one can’t do this, he/she will lack the visibility and recognition one needs to reach the next level of success.
Why is Personal Branding important?
- Individual image and organization’s image is co-related
Depending on your role, your personal brand will also reflect on your company’s brand—after all, you are a window into what your company values and cares about. If you are not able to project impressive aspects related to your personality, people might have a distorted view of who you are. During first meeting, people tend to take other people at face value and figure that what they see is what they’ll get. Personal image is inextricably tied to your professional image, and can have a huge impact on your company. When your clients or customers think of your company’s brand, it is most likely that you could be the first thing that comes to their mind. Basically, your personal image has a profound impact on your company and career. People are not going to consciously separate the personal you from the business you when they are forming these judgments. Psychologically, their judgements on your personal image are going to significantly affect their professional decisions. A strong and distinctive personal brand serves as a rallying point and a source of inspiration for all the people we are associated with, be it colleagues or clients. Others will feel privileged to work with you, and will not avoid putting in some extra effort. Always strive to improve and demonstrate your skills and knowledge because it reflects on your company, both its performance and public image. Strong personal brand draws the attention of others and will make you and your work a talking point. You should make sure your personal brand is not in opposition to the company’s image. They should work in harmony, which means that you are an extension of your organization’s brand values, culture, goals, and vice versa.
- Respectable Online image is important
Personal branding is about who you are and how you resonate with yourself. We live in a world that requires us to be aware of how we are presenting ourselves to others. Whether or not you realize it, you’re developing a personal brand that defines you and illustrates to the wider public who you are, where you have been and where you are going. When you do an online search for someone (or yourself) the information you find is the backbone of one’s online personal image. It is our personal best and worst, all open for public view. If a search turns up well-written with impressive social media accounts or professional networking pages, it will create a favourable image in the minds of your clients and other stakeholders.
- Establishes you as an expert in your field
A great personal brand involves establishing oneself as an expert in his/her chosen field. Those who are perceived or identified as industry experts have a leg up in the business world. They are more recognizable, they command higher remuneration and respect, and doors open more easily for them. Establishing oneself as a thought leader requires hard work, a track record of great experience, and a fair amount of success. Consider creating a catchy personal introduction for yourself that explains what you do. It’s important to let people know what you have to offer, and this messaging should be consistent across your social media profiles, business cards, blog, resume, etc.
- Attracts new clients and collaborations
Our personal brand should be a selling point to new clients, influencers and industry leaders. Have you cultivated a reputation as someone they would want to do business with or work with? Do you show how you can create value for those around you? If people believe in you, if they trust what you stand for and see that you have integrity and expertise, they will want to work with you, or buy your products. That’s how Steve Jobs was able to convince John Sculley, the President of Pepsi, to join Apple in 1983. Jobs asked “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” Sculley believed that Jobs was doing more than just selling computers—he believed that Jobs was truly out to change the world. So a great personal brand clearly attracts new clients and collaborations.
- Helps in Career progression
None of us will end up in the same place as we started off. Over time, your career will change course and you will grow in different ways. Part of the beauty of having a personal brand is being able to pull all these loose ends together and explain your evolution by developing your narrative. This is your chance to tell your story. To reinvent yourself. Your personal branding narrative helps explains your overall progression in your career, interests and life. The key is to focus on how your prior experience brings value to who you are now. Your narrative should always be consistent with your past, but also explain how your experiences are key to creating your specific and dynamic set of talents. And just like you, it shouldn’t be static—it needs to grow and evolve over time.
Creating a strong brand establishes you as a natural leader. It makes people look up to you as a firm thought leader. The boost in image and direction opens doors and creates unique opportunities that would otherwise remain in the dark. Finding success throughout your career naturally pushes yourself to take a stronger stance on how you handle yourself and others.
Personal Branding works wonders for career success, allowing individuals to pursue whatever it is that they’re passionate about. The mutual relationship between career success and personal branding is a truly unique, dynamic that, when understood, has the potential to launch a person to great heights. Personal branding done right can open more doors for us than we ever imagined. When women play an active role in managing their personal brand, it is a positive step that can drive their career aspirations forward and help the organizations by protecting in their investment in talent development, reducing attrition and enhancing diversity.