Jul 16, 2011

The Art of “Personal Branding”

Personal branding is about creating the externally facing identity that an organization has as a business project. Branding is very important. No matter what we might like to believe, people do not buy things for rational reasons. They do so for emotional ones. Even if they go out and do an elaborate comparison between the different features, prices, options, specifications, guarantees and perceptions of different products. They will still refine this down to a few possibilities and make their decision emotionally. That is why the brand is so important; it creates the emotional connection with the buyer.
Personal branding does the same for people as the marketers do for products. Personal branding is a strategic process; it is about intentionally taking control of how others perceive organization and managing those perceptions strategically to help it achieve its goals. Hence, all have a personal brand to a certain extent though most people don’t realize it and do nothing to manage it; yet it has a big impact on all consumers. A personal brand is “the public projection of certain aspects of a person’s personality, skills or values that stimulate precise, meaningful perceptions in its audience about the values and qualities that person stands for.”
Brands are generally built on one area of specialization. It is important to keep the brand simple, and to avoid diversification in favor of becoming even better at the core activity. Organizations can specialize in a number of ways: by ability – strategic vision, grasp of first principles, communicating complexity, by behavior – such as leadership skills, passionate energy or ability to listen, by lifestyle – living on a boat, wearing turtlenecks not ties, traveling by motorbike, by mission – seeing people exceed their own expectations, for instance, by product – the futurist who creates amazing places to work, by profession – niche within a niche – the leadership coach who’s a psychotherapist, and by service – the ‘consultant’ who works as a non-executive director or interim.
People don’t like individuals who try to pretend themselves as natural. They like people who are ‘real’. People who are able to risk being human in front of their domain are liked more for it. According to research there are four characteristics to being human; being related to, being fallible, being positive, and being authentic. There are no short-cuts to achieving a personal brand – those that ‘appear’ overnight are actually the products of many years of persistence. Throughout that time it’s important to recognize fads and trends and be prepared to reject those that detract from the brand.

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