By Raksha Mahabeer (The Beat), co-founder of Summertime
As you would have read in my previous blog on why you can’t just have a business brand, personal branding encompasses the ongoing process of establishing a positive extension of who you are and what you stand for in the minds of others. In this online era, authenticity is key and can only be achieved if you create a personal brand that defines its own unique characteristics, that genuinely adds value to people’s lives.
A personal brand exists whether you like it or not and people will continually express their understanding of your personal brand. One of my favourite quotes reads: “Personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.
Owning your personal brand and shaping it first-hand will mitigate the risks of others moulding your brand on your behalf. So it’s critical to understand who you are and what you’re offering before embarking on logos, taglines and a colour palette for your brand.
Make the necessary investment
If you are in it for the long haul, you need to look at your personal brand as a necessary investment that will outlive you. The projects you work on will come and go, but your personal brand will persist and add value to everything you create.
Moulding a personal brand that encapsulates your passions, goals, aspirations and the value system that makes you who you are and promulgates what you stand for, is key. It ultimately influences your business brand, since it’s an extension of your personal brand.
People want to engage with businesses whose "lived' values and behaviours are consistent with their personal brand. Tumi Frazier – an example of a successful personal brand that the Lionesses community knows so well explains that “ultimately, people support the person behind the business so, work on yourself so you can be ready when your moment comes. As a business person, you attract who you are.” Read more here.
Your online reputation is equally as important as your offline one. Recent studies show that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. The success of LinkedIn just drives home the principle that “people do business with people”, once again reiterating the value of the personal brand.
Dos for creating a strong personal brand:
- Let people see you – identify platforms and opportunities where people can experience and interact more with your personal brand
- Create valuable expertly crafted content consistently, taking advantage of social media hype
- Become a thought leader, linking your personal brand to your business brand
- Market your personality – because people do business with people!
- Lay out your core values and present them publicly
- Network all the time
- Create innovative change in your field
Don’ts for creating a strong personal brand
- Don’t be inconsistent – make sure you keep saying and doing things that are aligned with your personal brand and its brand promise
- Don’t publicise failure in your area of expertise – you want to present yourself favourably but also authentically
- Don’t just focus on your product, service or industry expertise – show your human side!
Defining and controlling your personal brand through traditional methods and social media requires planning. However, acknowledging you have a personal brand is the first step in the process. Thereafter, you need to clearly define what you want that personal brand to say. You will then be ready to take the next step, being optimising an ever-present, trusted and sustainable brand, which will be covered in my next blog – so watch this space!
Raksha Mahabeer, or ‘The Beat’ as she is known, is a proudly South African entrepreneur, she co-owns SummerTime, a vibrant creative studio specialising in design, branding and marketing. She is a connector, a communicator, a purpose-driven, inspired inspirer! She prides herself in partnering with SMEs in establishing new brands with a view to create jobs in South Africa and the African continent. Believing in business actualisation through conscious creativity, Raksha is a marketing and brand strategy expert with a keen strategic, creative and business mind focused on assisting SMEs in their endeavour to formulate effective marketing strategies that highlight tangible value and meet real human needs. On a personal level, she describes herself as a finger-tapping, drum-beating, music-making, cloud-watching, pixie-prancing, tree-hugging, fire-walking, soul-dancing, Yoda-quoting, oneness-embracing, effervescent, hippie-at-heart!
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