Selling yourself well is how you get ahead, right? Harini Chari, founder of Brand YOU, debunks the things you think you know about personal branding.Not sure where to start? Try the three “R”s, suggests Harini.
You do great work, you put in the hours, and you get along well with your colleagues – but when your yearly review comes up, you got passed over for a promotion. Again. Meanwhile, a brandnew colleague is zooming up the career ladder. What are you doing wrong?
The answer could be personal branding. You may have heard of this term in a vague way before, but what it basically refers to is how other people view and value you. Once people recognise who you are, know what you stand for and associate you with a specific area of expertise, they seek you. So, how do you grow that personal brand?
No, it’s not self-promotion
It’s my personal brand, so it’s all about me, my skills and my achievements, right? That’s a myth that needs serious debunking. Personal branding is actually all about “them” – meaning, your audience; the people in your network, your clients, colleagues and friends. Think of your personal brand in terms of the value that you bring to the table, which can make their lives better, in any way. By communicating that value, you make it very clear to your audience why they should listen to, and care about you.
It’s OK to be you
The best thing about personal branding is that you don’t have to create one. You already have one. You simply need to take charge of it. How? Your personal brand is most palpable online and what you post on social media is going to come back and help or haunt you sometime.
When it comes to this, there are no big rights or wrongs because you’re in fact encouraged to be yourself – your real, authentic self. So it’s all right to post a long-winded rant on Facebook if you’re really passionate about a particular cause, just as it’s OK to put up pictures of your dinner, your pet, or your latest vacay. The only rule to stick by is to remember that, at the end of the day, everything you post becomes a reflection of your values.
HOW TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Not sure where to start? Try the three “R”s, suggests Harini.
The first step requires a lot of introspection. Determine your goals and build an understanding of what drives you in life. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can begin to align your choices with your inner values. It’s not easy, but once you invest your energy in this step, the rewards are boundless.
Time to make it clear to your audience why they should choose you. The best way to do this is through a story. What story do you want yourself to tell? It might be a little difficult to frame yourself in such a way, but if you decide not to take charge of how your brand is told, other people might brand you a certain way. And that’s not always good news!
This phase is all about keeping your brand alive and fresh. As you demonstrate your values through your actions, you create trust with the people in your network. When the time comes to be valued, these relationships will organically convert these people into ambassadors that will help you grow your personal brand.