Home > Leadership and Management > Why should you have a personal brand?

Why should you have a personal brand?

By G. Balasubramanian

Sumeet was discussing over a cup of coffee with one of his clients. “There has been a phenomenal growth in our sales. It has crossed over twenty percent. The company has made a good margin. This is not a new story. As the head of sales, I have shown this kind of performance over the last three years. In short, I have become indispensable for the company. They cannot run their sales without me. I am now able to dictate my terms to them.”

The client, who was senior executive in another corporate just smiled. “That is just a myth. Your brand is not the number you deliver. They may go up and come down. Just a single competitor, a single change in market dynamics, a single unfortunate event could bring down an empire in no time. So, while I appreciate and congratulate you for your performance, please note that your performance is just one fragile indicator of your worth. It does not necessarily support your brand. Search within to find what is your brand.”

Sumeet was totally upset.” Aren’t my skills indicators of my brand?” he asked. “I wouldn’t say that. Any day your company may go on sale, another management could walk in, and they may want to replace you because they have a different vision and notion about sales. What would you do? Search what is your core value of your brand?” replied the friend as he bid a goodbye.

In a competitive and consumerist world, there is a huge exercise going on about organizational/institutional branding as well as personal branding. Experts in personal branding are paid heavily to keep the profile of the individuals in social media and in the community gravitating, alive, charismatic and popular. The value associated with such brands, whether true or not, is indeed overwhelming. It has the capacity to make people leaders in brief time, rich in truly brief time and demanding in a suitable time. The prospects associated with brand positions are estimated by a separate panel of experts who advise using these brands for purposes by which they reach out to national visibility and acceptance. A distinct panel of experts do ensure the safety and sustainability of these brands in a competitive environment both through professional and non-professional reach outs.

Mridula was on a chat with her mentor. “Mridula, you are indeed an asset to the organization, As the brand manager and brand architect, you have done wonders. The various techniques you adopted to establish the brand, boost the brand, position the brand and communicate the brand to the market have all been extraordinary. I am sure your management should be happy with you. But what is your brand within the company and the market? How many know who Mridula is? What is your relationship with the organizational brand? Have you ever thought of branding the self as much as the institutional branding? Have you ever analysed how do you position your self-worth both within the company and in the operating universe? Does your esteem in the community grow alongside your professional income? Who knows you for what you do? What is your brand? I am not giving any suggestions. But I would like you to introspect.”

“No body knows you” is a great assault on the profile of a person who has a history of excellence in his workstation. “Your work will speak for you,” “your work is your brand” and “keep a low profile and people will watch you for the right reasons” are value statements which are challenged in the modern context. Oftentimes, people brand themselves by using fake awards, fake communications of their self; though such things are not validated by a professional community, many times they walk with the cake, while others are just watching and waiting.

Personal branding is an identity provided to the profile of an individual. It offers credibility, authenticity and reachability to others. Personal branding is not only a value addition but demands from the individual the celebration of values which are reflected through the brand.

There are some organizations which are sensitive to such issues, and they ensure that people collaborating with them get branded as much as the institution gets branded. Personal branding and institutional branding are seen as mutually supportive. Those who fear that the personal branding of their executives, performers and their work force will give better scope for them to move away are sadly mistaken. At any point, they would certainly move, once they understand that they suffocate in the organization without recognition. Many organizations do see branding of their people is one of the best ways of rewarding and recognizing them.

Harrison Monarth, an expert in perception management writes in his article ‘what is the point of a personal brand?’ in the magazine ‘Ascend” from Harvard Business Review writes “You have the power to define your brand by aligning your intentions with actions.” He goes further to say, “Your reputation is made up of the opinions and beliefs people form about you based on your collective actions and behaviours. Your personal brand, on the other hand, is much more intentional. It is how you want people to see you. Whereas reputation is about credibility, your personal brand is about visibility and the values that you outwardly represent.”

The Forbes magazine says in its article “There’s an easy way to have an original personal brand—and that is to be genuine and authentic.” It adds “If your personal brand isn’t telling a story, you’ve already lost half of your potential audience” Providing a true narrative of what you are and what you intend to do or achieve, and keeping this trajectory visible to a world waiting for it, is an essential exercise in creating a personal brand. Proverbially "If you’re not branding yourself, you can be sure others do it for you.” Do you want that to happen?

It matters not what profession you practice; it matters not what talents or competencies you host; it matters not what kind of great values you carry either on your head or your heart, personal branding has become essential for a meaningful survival or for enterprising life in modern times. “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room." Says Chris Ducker, an authority in personal branding.

However, it is essential to ensure that one doesn’t succumb to the greed of being seen, being talked about or being celebrated by minutes, lest one falls a victim to unwarranted depression! An authentic and honest brand narrative is fundamental today; otherwise, you will simply be edited out."-Marco Bizzarri