PERSONAL BRANDING: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT
When we hear the term branding, our brain is wired to think of big businesses and big brands like MTN, Chevron, Adron homes, etc.
“They are the ones that need branding anyway,” you tell yourself because you just don’t see any correlation between yourself and branding.
The truth however is that not only businesses and brands need branding. As an individual, you also need to brand yourself maybe even more than the “big businesses” and well-known brands.
I listen to a podcast of a lady who switched careers and succeeded in everything because of her personal branding. She started her career as a model – a top model. Later, she hosted a reality TV show for years, and finally, she owns an ice cream production company.
She could transition into these careers because she took her personal branding seriously. Personal branding allows you to speed up your growth in any career easier and faster.
You know why?
What is personal branding
There are a lot of concepts of branding and one can easily get confused. Sometimes, people even mistake branding for marketing or sales because of the thin line between them.
But the one that stuck with me the most is an illustration someone made in an online webinar I attended some time ago.
Here is his illustration
Branding is about perception. How do people feel about you, your services, or your products?
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In branding, you have to be conscious and intentional in creating the image of you or your business.
One good example is Apple. You will see people use an iPhone because of the prestige attached to it.
Personal branding is what makes people know you for you. It gives you an advantage in the online world you won’t otherwise have.
When you engage in personal branding
- You let people know what you’re doing
- Who you are
- how you do it.
If you do this consistently, there is the certainty that your life will take a drastic turn around and reach heights. You might end up doing things you never thought possible.
Here is a short story that will interest you
Two guys became friends at the early time of their university education. While schooling together, they try out several businesses together. Some of them failed while some weren’t bringing the profits they expected.
But they keep trying. At a point, one was selling shoes to students, the other became a graphic designer and was making money from it.
Not long after, they found their lucky business
As they were about to graduate, they jumped on an investment business boom on Forex trading. Both of them will persuade people to invest in their portfolio to get a return on their investment after a few months. So they will give the money to a forex trader who will trade with the money for the months stated.
It was that easy and they made a lot of money from this business.
But they lost it all including investors’ money.
If you follow the Forex trading issue back then, you will understand. They lost millions but their investors trusted them. So, they started trying out other businesses.
Just after they graduate, the two friends, Paul and Jordan (not their real name) started a farming company. This became another lucky business. In a year, they were able to pay all the money they owe and they started living a luxurious life.
Suddenly, Jordan left the company to start a new one. Why? What happened?
I later heard that he was kicked out by his friend Paul because he did something very wrong.
PS: This is a true story. I only changed the basic things to hide the identities involved.
This is where the story gets interesting
Before Jordan left, he has always been the face of the company. Paul on the other hand was always doing the underground work. Of course, what Paul was doing wasn’t bad but it almost affected the company when Jordan left.
While Jordan was increasing the followers on his social media pages, Paul wasn’t. As Jordan got closer to the customers, he became an authority and expert in the field. Only a few people know about Paul. Paul may be doing the most but he is hardly noticed.
Today, Jordan’s new company is doing extremely well. He closed deals more than his friend.
Paul is also doing fine and has stepped up to build his personal brand too. He should thank God it wasn’t too late.
Beyond branding a business, it is important to brand yourself too.
How do you intend to start your personal branding journey?
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Advantages of Personal Branding
The advantage personal branding gives you includes but is not limited to;
- It will help you find your uniqueness. You’ll just see yourself excelling in areas you’ve never thought possible.
- It will help you build a reputation for the things you want to be known for. It is possible to have zero image today and end up being known for one thing in few years. The names of people like Mandela, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and Zidane cannot be erased from this world because of what they stood for.
- Personal branding will position you as an authority in your industry and can help you to branch into any other field easily if you do it very well.
- Ultimately, the goal is to create something that conveys a message and that can be monetized. Some people built personal brands up to the extent that they became influencer marketers.
Influencer marketing today is a big deal because a lot of companies are ready to pay a lot of money to someone like Wiskid or Ronaldo to be their brand ambassador.
Let me let you in on a secret
It’s your responsibility to let people know who you are and what you do. If you fail at this, they’ll make assumptions and their assumptions most times will be wrong.
Don’t let them judge you wrongly or assume what they don’t know. Craft your story and feed them with it.
Go on LinkedIn, that is what they are doing there. LinkedIn is one of the best social platforms for personal branding. You should be there.
BENEFITS OF PERSONAL BRANDING
1. You’re More Visible Online
When you engage in personal branding, you not only give yourself the opportunity for growth and finding your uniqueness but you also give people the opportunity to find you online.
By efficiently branding yourself, more people will get to know, see and find you in the online world and as such, you’ll be their first call when they need your offered products or services.
2. You’ll Become More Identifiable in Person
Because you’re practically showing enough of yourself online, people get to connect with your brand and brand message on an emotional level. This makes it easy for your audience to differentiate you from your competitors.
They just know when they see this post that it’s written by Amaka. Or that shoe a random stranger is wearing was done by Bayo.
Even offline, your audience will find it easy to connect with you when the time or opportunity presents itself.
3. Your Business Will Become Stronger
You know the way you prefer buying a particular product, say bread for example from a particular vendor even though there are about three vendors that sell the same thing? Exactly! You go there not because her bread is sweeter or fell from heaven. They all are supplied by the same bakery!
If I ask, there’s a high chance you also don’t know the reason you go there, all you know is you’ve been buying from her for a long time, especially after she was nice to you on your first time. And now when you think bread, your brain is already wired to that same woman, you don’t need to think about it.
I say this to say that humans are emotional creatures and they’ll patronize your business when they connect with your personal brand.
Make them fall in love with your brand image and you’ll be at the top of their mind when they need your product or service.
4. You will build confidence
Most times, the thoughts of putting yourself out there will be scary. Very scary in fact
Questions of what if people don’t like me or what if they don’t think I’m authentic or what if I fail?
There are just a lot of “what ifs” that make you reluctant to start.
One thing however is that if you go on that personal branding journey, your confidence in who you are and your skillset will be increased.
No more will you feel anxious about getting in front of a camera or sharing details about yourself. This confidence will definitely spread to other parts of your life.
5. You Control Your Brand Image
When it comes to branding, being the one to control your brand image is very important.
As I have mentioned at the onset of this post that when you don’t take control of your brand image, people will make assumptions about who you are and what you stand for. I’m sure you don’t want that happening.
You can decide exactly how you show up, and do it consistently.
6. Your Credibility Will Increase
Credibility is one wonderful reward you reap when you consistently build your personal brand. Credibility is simply the reputation you have built that impacts the number of trust people has in you.
When you build your brand image and your audience recognizes you as a person that consistently dishes out value and is result-driven, you become an authority figure that people can trust with their monies. This is exactly why the lady I talked about at the beginning of this article was successful in three different careers.
How do you build credibility
You build credibility by sharing valuable content with your audience. You use your personal brand to educate people who are interested in what you know and what you do. You also show results. Don’t let them think you’re all bark and no bite.
There are a lot of other mouth-watering, juicy benefits you get from building an online presence and being intentional about it. Lots that you will discover and enjoy on your personal branding journey.
I will see you on the winning side.