A handbook for navigating the social media age in your profession | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:11 AM, June 10, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: SELF-HELP

A handbook for navigating the social media age in your profession

While the world might seem like a place only made for extroverts, who get ahead with the volume of their voices alone, Personal Branding (Odommo Prokash, 2021) is a book that is here to permanently lay that idea to rest. Authors Md Tajdin Hassan, Md Sohan Haidear, and Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury provide a meticulous blueprint for an aspiring professional to make themselves noticed.

Those of you who judge books by their covers (and genres) might be put off by the idea of "another self-help book" about corporate life. What's refreshing about Personal Branding, however, is that it does not make grandiose claims about the effectiveness of its methods. One big issue with books of this kind is that anecdotes are often shoehorned into fitting the writers' perspective, but for this book, methods are laid out at the beginning where honesty and staying true to yourself are repeatedly stressed upon. In essence, you cannot have a brand without a product.

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As someone who was figuring out how branding works in the early days of social media back in 2008 with Rantages, what the book provided for me was validation for the methods I have practiced for the past decade or so. What took thousands of hours for me to glean from different blogs, books, and talks have finally been condensed into a manual that enables every professional to be their very own public relations agency in the context of Bangladeshi corporate life.

Personal Branding stresses on the myths and misconceptions people cling to about branding, like the assumption that it's either exaggeration or plain lies. This book asks you to think about your favourite brands and people, how they managed to communicate to you what you value in an honest manner. That is the undercurrent I sensed while reading Personal Branding. It helps you explore your every day life and convey to an audience who you really are. In the age of social media, everyone has an audience no matter how small and when there is an audience, there is opportunity for growth.

The book is structured in the 'Why', 'What', and 'How' method and the three authors layer their advice so that there is perspective from a well-experienced veteran in Md Tajdin Hassan, who has served for years as The Daily Star's head of marketing before taking over as the Chief Strategy and Digital Transformation Officer recently; along with Md Sohan Haidear, who is a rising star in his field, and Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury, writer and cofounder of Torun, who does tremendously to connect the dots for younger readers about to start their careers. With the help of these three voices, it becomes a book one can revert back to during different stages of their life.

The authors have also included personal branding case studies from local industry leaders so the reader can use one of those and reverse engineer their methods through the exercises described in the book.

At 127 pages, it can be finished in a day and that might be the biggest issue with the book. Going through the entire thing without sitting down to process what you read can lead one to assume there isn't enough content, since the book condenses a lot of important information within very few pages. I felt that the authors can go for a revised or an extended edition of the book. In fact, due to the mercurial nature of social media, it would be best if there were a blog centered around fleshing out the concepts of Personal Branding and developing them further over time.

All in all, this book can be a compass for navigating the minefield that is promoting yourself humbly in the age of social media.

 

Rumman R Kalam is the founder of Rantages who works as a digital communications and content specialist. You can reach him at rumman@rantages.com.  

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