5 personal branding rules to follow
1. Understand, believe and be your authentic self
Some professionals suggest building your personal brand by shaping and moulding around what others do, but imagine how exhausting it is maintaining a "fake" persona in the long run. Do not mimic others just because they are oh-so-successful. By doing that you are selling yourself short. No two people or companies are the same. Your personal brand should be a reflection of who YOU are. What are YOUR ideal beliefs? What is YOUR stance? What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses? Thus, building a personal brand is first and foremost developing an understanding of your true self, and then sharing that with the world.
Maybe you went incognito to a social event once because you wanted to fit in. But your brand personality is your ultimate differentiator. Work on it till your rational self is satisfied with who you have become. Moreover, customers are smart nowadays; they do not like fake or repetitive marketing strategies.
The best way to help elevate yourself is to elevate those around you. Give until it hurts. Teach your secrets. Walk people step-by-step through your journey, what you do, and how you do it. Make your failures just as public as your successes — that will make you all the more human and relatable. Use every lesson in your life as good advice. Speak from a place of knowledge and power and exude confidence in every move. Remember: nobody listens to the silent expert.
3. Own your platform
Building a proper online presence is key to good and effective communication. Have your own Facebook, Twitter page and YouTube channel, and deliver content regularly.
The bitter reality about social media is that you do not own your social media information. You do not own your followers either. Be sure you are building your own website for your brand and your own email list. You could even go as far as creating your own social media site with tools like Buddypress. How would your business look if one or all of your social media sites disappeared tomorrow? If that would dramatically affect the flow of new business coming into your door, then you have work to do.
4. Be loud and opinionated
Would you rather voice your concerns and be proven wrong than be called a coward for not taking a stand at all? Do not be embarrassed about making mistakes. Quite naturally, people who get the most attention are those who cite their own views on a topic and do not back down. Their audiences are huge, and people pay attention every time they open their mouths. Even if people do not love everything a loud person has to say, they have no choice but to listen. There is no one "universal" way to brand yourself and productive people know this too well to be wasting time wondering if they are doing it the "proper" way.
5. Remain a student of your industry
No matter how well you know your area of expertise, never forget that things are changing at a faster rate than ever. You must constantly keep updating yourself. If you fail to stay relevant, all your efforts will go wasted. Always keep a steady supply of articles, trade journals, blogs, and books on hand.
The writer is a junior at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka