This domain name is for sale. Bid or buy now.



Authentic Personal Branding

By Hubert Rampersad

Most buying decisions are based on trust, confidence, and the feeling of connection or emotions people have related to a product, service, or person. This is all about branding. Branding is more important than marketing and sales. Marketing is presenting, by sending messages to the target audience through multiple channels to create awareness. Sales is convincing, by using special skills to convince the audience. Branding is influencing, by creating a brand identity that associates certain perceptions and feelings with that identity. Don’t waste all the time and money you spend on marketing and sales by not maximizing your brand. It’s about time to focus on branding! Branding is more effective, powerful, and sustainable than marketing and sales.

A brand is the expectations, image, and perceptions it creates in the minds of others, when they see or hear a name, product or logo. Microsoft, Nike, Toyota, Volvo, and Coke tell us how they want us to perceive their products. These brands don’t communicate about what they are, but about what they want our perceptions and expectations of their products to be. Branding can be defined as a promise that the product or service is better than all the competing products, a promise that must be delivered to be successful.

For example, Volvo is differentiated from other car companies by its promise of safety and security and IBM stands for dependability. Branding isn’t just for products, services, and companies anymore. There is a new trend called "Personal Branding". Personal Branding is essential to career development and an effective career tool because it helps define who you are, what do you stand for, and what makes you unique, special, and different. Personal Branding is also essential to business development. People want to do business with people they know or with whom they feel some sort of connection. If you are a familiar and consistent presence, they will have the sense that they know you and be more receptive to doing business with you.

Traditional personal branding works in the same way as company branding; communicating values, personality, and ability to its audience to produce a positive emotional response. You can shape the markets perception of your personal brand simply by defining your unique strengths, values, and personality, sharing it with others in an exciting, persuasive manner, and cultivating your brand continuously. It’s something that you can develop and manage, which is essential for future employability and success. Everyone has a chance and should take the responsibility to learn, improve, build up their skills and be a strong brand. Being good and what you have accomplished is not enough. It's time to give serious effort to discovering your genius and authentic dream, imagining and developing yourself as a powerful, consistent, and memorable Personal Brand, and do related work you love.

It was branding guru Tom Peters who launched the personal branding movement with an essay published in Fast Company in 1997 under the title "The Brand Called You. He wrote: “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc…. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called “You”…… You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand... You need to think of yourself differently. You're not an "employee", you don't "belong to" any company for life, you’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description……. Being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself”.

Your personal brand is a critical asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. Having a good professional reputation is the key to success. Personal branding is becoming increasingly essential to personal success. It is the strategy behind the world's most successful people, like Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Donald Trump, Richard Branson and Bill Gates. It’s therefore important to be your own brand, the CEO of Me Inc., the CEO of your own life, in order to be successful in life. The image of your brand is a perception held in someone else’s mind. Successful personal branding also entails managing this perception effectively. Your personal brand is the expectations, image, and perceptions it creates in the minds of others, when they see or hear your name.

Traditional personal branding concepts focus mainly on personal marketing, by building a name for yourself, showcasing what sets you apart from others, and describing the related added value. I focus on sustainable authentic personal branding in a holistic way; on a trusted image of yourself that you want to project in everything you do, which is about your true values, beliefs, dream, and genius, combined with powerful tools to deliver peak performance and to create a stable basis for trustworthiness, credibility, and personal charisma. The underlying assumption here is that each of us has unique gifts and a distinct purpose and dream in life. By connecting these gifts, purpose, and dream, we open ourselves up to greater success in life. In this article and in our related personal branding seminar I will introduce an authentic personal branding concept, which is durable and less cosmetic than current methods. It places more emphasis on personal development, growth in life and empowerment, and focuses on the human side of branding, and includes your reputation, character and personality. Traditional personal branding approaches can turn into an ego trip.

The authentic personal branding process starts with determining who you are at your core authentic self. This is based on your life philosophy, dream, vision, mission, values, key roles, identity, self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-responsibility, positive attributes, and self-management, rather than inventing a brand that you would like to be perceived as and to sell this to others.  With an authentic personal brand, your strongest characteristics, attributes, and values can separate you from the crowd. Without this, you look just like everyone else. If you are not branded in an authentic, honest, and holistic way, if you don’t deliver according to your brand promise, and if you focus mainly on selling, promoting yourself, and becoming famous, you will be egocentric and selfish.

An Authentic Personal Branding Model: The Authentic Personal Branding model consists of the following four phases (see Figure 1):

Define and Formulate your Personal Ambition; This phase involves defining and formulating your Personal Ambition in an exciting and persuasive manner and making it visible. Your Personal Ambition encompasses your personal vision, mission, and key roles, related to four perspectives, which should be in balance: internal, external, knowledge & learning, and financial perspectives. This will create balance in your life. It is about identifying yourself and figuring out what your dream is, who you are, what you stand for, what makes you unique and special, why you are different than anyone, and identifying your genius, incorporating an introduced breathing and silence exercise. You are almost twice as likely to accomplish your brand if you write this down. Formulation is critical to building a strong brand. So take the time to think about your life and to write down your Personal Ambition statement.

Define and formulate your Personal Brand; This phase involves defining and formulating your Personal Brand in an exciting and persuasive manner and making it visible. Take the time to write down your Personal Brand statement, which is related to your Personal Ambition, and create a related compelling brand story to promote the brand called You. First of all you should perform a personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and evaluate yourself based on this. The result of this analysis is the definition of your personal life style. This relates to your personal ambition and brand objectives.

Your brand objectives entail what you want your Personal Brand to accomplish. These should also be related to the four mentioned perspectives: internal, external, knowledge & learning, and financial. You also need to know your audience (domain), their greatest needs, determine your specialization, concentrate on a single core talent, what your main specific services are, what your key characteristics are, and what your single leading and most powerful attribute is. Your Personal Brand Statement entails the total of your Personal Ambition, domain, specialty, service and dominant attribute. It also includes your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The next step in this second stage is to define your Personal Brand Story (Elevator Pitch), which is the essence of what you want to say about your Personal Brand in order to produce a positive emotional reaction. Finally you should design your Personal Logo, which is a single graphical symbol that represents your Personal Brand.

Formulate your Personal Balanced Scorecard (PBSC); The emphasis in this stage is developing an action plan based on your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand to reach your life and brand objectives and to eliminate any negative elements of your ambition and brand. It’s about translating your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand into your PBSC (action). Remember: vision without action is hallucination and a Personal Brand without continuously improvement of yourself based on your PBSC is cosmetically and waste of time, and will not lead to sustainable development of your potential and marketing success.

Your PBSC entails the related personal critical success factors, objectives, performance measures, targets and improvement actions. It’s divided into four perspectives as well: internal, external, knowledge & learning, and financial perspectives. Your PBSC translates your dream, hopes, aspirations and values into manageable and measurable personal objectives, milestones and improvement actions in a holistic and balanced way. Your PBSC is needed to improve and manage yourself continuously based on your Personal Ambition and Brand. It’s an effective tool that you can use to manage yourself and your brand, by developing improvement actions to achieve your objectives, keeping track of your progress of these actions, recording key brand information, exploring your life and brand, defining new career paths and further, building network of contacts, quantify and report your key accomplishments, etc.

Implement and Cultivate your Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and PBSC; Formulating an authentic Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and related PBSC and fixing these in your mind are the first steps in this holistic process of effective and sustainable personal branding. The next step is to implement and cultivate your ambition, brand and PBSC effectively in order to be successful in life.

You have to articulate your Personal Brand with love and passion, be committed to change, improve your perceived value in the marketplace and yourself continuously, become an expert in your field and build credibility based on this, get the word out through a variety of media channels, build a solid reputation within your industry, do work you love which is consistent with your Personal Brand and values, gain experience in areas of your brand in which you are weak, promote yourself, market your brand frequently and consistently, make conscious choices about the people you associate with, build a strong network, deliver on your brand promise, live according to your brand promise, etc.

To guide you in this process I have introduced a unique learning cycle, the Plan-Deploy-Act-Challenge cycle (PDAC cycle), which should be followed continuously. This is necessary to let your brand awareness grow gradually and to become successful in life. To live in accordance with your Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and related PBSC through its implementation using the PDAC cycle results in a journey towards self-awareness, joy, happiness, and marketing success. Once you implement and launch your Personal Brand, remember to continue maintaining it.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Hubert Rampersad.

[Contact the author for permission to republish or reuse this article.]


Home      Recent Articles      Author Index      Topic Index      About Us
2005-2018 Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc   ▪   privacy statement