While you are building your brand presence outlined above, remember that building a brand and sustaining it for the longevity of the brand is very important.
Here are a few pointers that you need to keep in mind as you go about building, marketing and promoting yourself as a brand.
1. Be sincere
The dictionary defines “sincere” as “free from pretense, hypocrisy, falseness or deceit.” Being a sincere person refers to how you interact with others.
Sincerity must begin within yourself.
Your sincerity comes through in all your communication be it spoken or written. People respect sincerity and they will be willing to listen to whatever you have to offer. Just like you are able to see through an insincere person, others would be able to see through you as well.
2. Present yourself intelligently
So how should you introduce yourself? Should you give your name first, your designation or the name of your company?
How many times have you heard the old phrase “if you do not blow your own trumpet, no one else will blow it for you?” What this means is that you need to talk about and present your achievements.
A few years later, I learned the corollary to this wise advice. “You must blow your own trumpet but do not blow it so hard that it hurts people’s ears!” How many times have you felt that someone talks too much and keeps bragging about his achievements?
My learning was that my introduction must be well practiced and not excessive.
There is no doubt that your organisation gives you significant credibility but over a period of time, as you build your own brand, you need to create your own identity which is different from that of your organisation. Do you want to want to introduce yourself with your own name first followed by the name of your employer or vice versa? Do you want to talk about your skills, your interests and your hobbies in your introduction?
For a very long time, doctors have used the abbreviated letters “Dr” before their name to communicate the skill they had acquired. This is an accepted norm. Since every doctor used this abbreviation, it took very little time for doctors to start adding their degrees after their names to show how they were more qualified than other doctors.
Lawyers display all their degrees and certificates in their chambers. They possibly believe that larger the number of frames on their walls the higher their credibility will become.
Officers in the armed forces have always added their rank as a prefix before their name to differentiate who they are, hierarchically. Officers who have been decorated with awards add the well understood abbreviated version of these awards after their name, as a suffix.
It took a while before engineers realise that they too like doctors, had worked equally hard to acquire their degree in engineering and so started to add the letters “Er” before their names. Very soon the Chartered Accountants, not wanting to be left behind started to affix “CA” before their names.
I wonder how many other professions will start to add a prefix or a suffix to their names to identify themselves.
Creating this unique identity will help you when you are looking for a new job or making a pitch for your young startup.
3. Be original
Nat King Cole, in 1950, sang the well-loved and well recognised song
There will be many other nights like this
And I’ll be standing here with someone new,
There will be other songs to sing, another fall, another spring,
But there will never be another you
There will be other lips that I may kiss,
But they won’t thrill me like yours used to do,
Yes, I may dream a million dreams,
But how can they come true,
If there will never ever be another you.
Pretenders are found out very quickly because they can never be consistent.
As the old saying goes, you can fool all the people for some time and some people for all time but you cannot fool all people all the time.
You can only make a lasting impact on people by being original, credible and transparent. If you are seen as a person who is untrustworthy or someone who cannot be relied upon, you can be certain that will not take your brand very far.
Your passion must be original and real.
That is what will define you as a brand.
4. Create differentiation
You are not the product of an assembly line.
You are unique. Your parents have worked hard to educate you so that you can develop a unique identity.
What you started out with at the beginning of your career is not an end to your education but the start. Your initial inputs, provided through your parents and your elders, have helped you to launch your career. To stay ahead of the game, you need to constantly invest in your skill sets to keep creating differentiation and staying ahead of the rest of your colleagues.
Extra training for a new work related skill, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, representing your organisation at a sports meet or learning public speaking skills are some ways of investing in yourself and differentiating from others.
Have confidence in the offering of Brand You.
You need to be very confident about your skills and have must have a very strong belief in your ability to deliver. This belief reinforces confidence in the mind of your audience about you. Have you ever heard of a good brand, which is not confident about its products? The same concept applies to Brand You as well.
It will take time and patience to build your brand.
Once established, nobody can take away this identity that you have built.
The wider the acceptability of your brand, the stronger your brand will become. This investment in yourself is what will make you stand out as powerful brand in your organisation and in your industry.
Therefore, building yourself as a brand is something that you should invest your time and focus into from today.
Become a powerful brand in your field and the world will want to reach out to you and embrace you for being the winner that you are!
The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers.
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