Personality branding

Great lessons to build a powerful brand to achieve professional success

'Seeing is believing,' it is said. But in the world of marketing, many a time, believing is seeing. Now what that means is that we see reality through the lenses of our existing perceptual set and we remember and eulogise those who have been best marketed.
Have you wondered why Oprah Winfrey's talk show is still the most popular talk show on TV? Or why is Madonna still a sought after pop singer after more than two decades? And who can forget the success of Richard Branson, the exuberance of his personality and the success of the Virgin empire.
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, David Beckham - these names stand for something specific in the minds of consumers. Now these people are extremely talented at what they do but more importantly have built powerful reputations beyond their field of endeavour.
These personalities have branded themselves well and they make efforts to consciously enhance their brand image. When Ralph Lifshitz wanted to launch himself as a famous fashion designer, he didn't start by working 24 hours a day designing clothes. The first thing he did was to change his name to Ralph Lauren.
Because he knew that branding seeks to create a better perception. Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal.
They leverage this proposition through a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. There are as many in the same domains that are equally competent but have not become iconic brands. And the difference is personal branding.
The term personal brand is believed to have first appeared in an article by management guru and author Tom Peters, who wrote, We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
A well-executed personal branding campaign creates a strong, consistent, and specific association between the individual and the perceived value they offer. Personal branding is common among business, entertainment, political, and sports figures.
Personal branding typically begins with establishing an inventory of core competencies, expertise, demonstrated abilities and existing level of recognition, informed by market research or feedback.
Questions to be answered revolve around who needs to know about the personality, what needs are they best-positioned to fill and what differentiates them from others in their field or space. Once the branding proposition is established, the branding effort happens through the use of various branding channels.
These include public appearances and presentations, networking, public relations, web presence, etc. The most notable thing about these well-known personalities is that they have the knack of being in the news. They will support a social cause or pull off a publicity stunt to get covered by the media.
Their newsworthiness keeps them in the limelight at all times and they are not averse to even sparking a controversy to achieve that result. So if we want to jumpstart our careers, our role is to actively promote our personal brands and make the changes necessary to create a better perception.
A personal branding effort can enhance our reputation in our field of work, establish credibility and build self- confidence. After all, an effective career strategy involves developing ourselves both personally and professionally inside and outside our organisation.
In today's connected world, we should start by managing our presence on the world-wide-web. That presence could be reflected in any kind of content that refers to us, including news, participation in blogs and forums, personal websites, social media presence, pictures, videos, etc.
We should be very conscious of what results 'google' throws up when we do ego-surfing, or a search of our own name. We could also benefit by networking through participation in seminars, professional referrals, client referrals and creating media exposure opportunities for ourselves through effective PR.
To conclude, I hope you too will take motivation from how some of the great names have gone about profiling themselves and use some of the tips to sharpen your own personal brand.
The author is chief strategy officer, UMS

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Personality branding
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