The ingrained ability to have specific inclinations towards particular products or people starts right in childhood. It underlies the core of consumer behaviour, where the preferences of individuals are attractively packaged into boxes of delight. A marketing strategist capitalises on this very behaviour to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that will attract and retain these customers. In other words, she is not only selling a commodity but building a brand.
What applies to a product applies to an individual as well. In today’s competitive world, you cannot expect people to come knocking at your door unless you build a personal brand for yourself. I can’t help but quote Tom Peters, writer on business management practices, who says, “Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand”. (Read more about Tom Peters here). A strong brand is invaluable, as the battle for being on the top intensifies day by day. Brand “You” can be derived from who you are, who you want to be and how people perceive you to be.
Who Are You?
Defining who we are is not always easy and many hours can be spent in just understanding how best to define oneself. The easiest way to go about it would be to jot down what comes to mind immediately and then take a few minutes to string them together. Skills and expertise aside, an organisation is mostly looking at a persona which fits the role. Like for instance, a typical Project Manager would need to be a team-player who has good leadership skills. So building up your definition of yourself will help an organisation understand what role would suit you best. This will also open up deeper insights into what profession you will excel at. However, it is important to define what you really are, and what you aspire to be rather than what the textbook says it is ideal to be.
What Is Your USP?
If there is one line to describe what makes you stand apart, then spend quality time in coming up with this line. Let that be your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. One birthday gift was favoured only because it was attractively decorated in pink. So delve deep and find the one feature that will make you stand apart. This will require careful analysis of what makes you stand out from the ordinary crowd. Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. Let’s say you left your organisation today — what would your colleagues miss the most? Research, define and build your brand. After all brand “You” is a promise to the organisation you wish to be part of.
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How So Others See You?
Knowing who you are is the first step but understanding how others perceive you is important in building your brand. Speak to a friend, talk to your peers, and understand how they perceive you to be at the workplace and as an individual. Ask them to tell you what you are good at, what are your invaluable strengths, and how you express yourself. This will help build Brand “You.” Work towards honing the skills that are perceived positively and change behaviours that send the wrong message.
The process of how a commodity evolves from good to great is all about how well it has been built into a successful brand. Similarly, climbing the ladder of success through creating a personal brand isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity. Jayson Demers expresses this very importance of personal branding in his article on Forbes. So like the pretty little pink gift, define who you are and what you have to offer and package yourself into an irresistible brand!
Today, take control of the biggest brand in your life: the brand called “You.”